Thursday, November 28, 2002

Lisa Guernsey writes in the NY Times today about the gender line in the blogosphere:

"People who track blogs hate to make generalizations, but many acknowledged that female bloggers often have more of an inward focus, keeping personal diaries about their daily lives.

"If that is the case, the Venus-Mars divide has made its way into Blogville. Women want to talk about their personal lives. Men want to talk about anything but. So far the people who have received the most publicity (often courtesy of male journalists) appear to be the latter."

The hyperactive Glenn Reynolds responds:

"...the reporter could have gone down my blogroll and found a lot of women warbloggers who blog more-or-less daily. Talking to them might have shed some light on the story. My guess is that women who do warblogs are interested in different things than women who don't.

"The interesting thing to me isn't that there are fewer women warbloggers than men. It's that there are so many more women warbloggers than there would have been ten years ago. The Times missed the bellicose-women trend entirely in this story."

I suggest a reading in Virgina Woolf for all concerned: A Room of One's Own & Three Guineas.

These days I spend much of my online time in the blogosphere, & the blogs I visit are mostly of the "public affairs" variety, & mostly written by men. (Also, contrary to the general trend, I seem drawn to bloggers whose opinions I largely disagree with.) But there's a little spark of voyeurism somewhere in my head. I've always been fascinated by other people's intimate accounts of their lives, by the restless, wriggling humanness revealed by honest & sensitive introspection. That's why, for instance, I've read so many writers' published diaries & letters — Virginia's foremost. (I can't help feeling on first-name terms with her — I've felt for so long a sense that I know her so well.) I don't expect I'll ever come across an online diary of comparable depth, vigour, incandescence. But there's a handful of blogosphere diarists, stumbled upon by varying degrees of randomness, whose personal streams of consciousness I find intensely interesting. I return to them almost obsessively, eager for new details, new emotions, from lives intersecting with mine only in the mysterious ether, only by the merest chance. (No, I'm not going to link — as absurd as it sounds, I feel that to reveal them is somehow to reveal more of myself than I'm prepared to.) I read the pundits & the warbloggers, sometimes till I'm sick of them, to follow the great necessary debate about the state of the world & our parts in it. But I read the diarists to learn more about the impossible human heart. And those lessons are the ones that sometimes change the way I think of myself.

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