Blogging is a strange thing to do. I’m writing something and posting it in a public forum that I don’tr intend or expect anyone else to read. I stated in my first post that this blog was for myself. So why bother doing it? Why bother posting things publicly that I wrote for myself? Why not just keep a journal? Alternatively, why kid myself that I’m writing for myself when I’m posting things in public? Well, I started out kidding myself on this topic — that I could write for myself in public — but it took about 48 hours before I realized that was a fiction. Actually I find myself writing to an invisible audience. Who this audience is differs from post to post: my wife, my colleagues, my friends, my students. But I’m finding that I’m not writing for myself; this isn’t a journal. And why not? Because it’s going to be posted in a public space. I would never write the same things for public consumption that I’d write in my own journal; who would? This is the act of observing changing the thing observed, only from the point of view of the quark: knowing that I may be observed, potentially even if not actually, changes what I write. I’m more careful in my choice of topics than I would be if I were writing for myself: note that I haven’t ranted about politics even once yet — and the Maggie Thatcher joke doesn’t count. I’m even more careful about wordsmithing than I would be if I were writing for myself: I’m actually writing these posts in Word, editing them, & then posting them. Am I just compulsive? Certainly. But I’d write for myself in Word too — I type faster than I write — but I probably wouldn’t bother with wordsmithing. So I find myself in the position that I’m writing things for myself for public consumption. Not entirely personal, but not entirely public either. This is very unlike any kind of writing I’ve ever done before: I’ve kept a journal from time to time, and these days I write for public consumption nearly every day. A journal is safe, because I really don’t expect anyone to ever read it; in fact I used to think I’d just toss all my old journals into the fireplace eventually. And writing for public consumption is safe, because while it’s my work — my research, my thinking, my words — it’s more or less divorced from me on a personal level. Professional writing is just different, there’s naturally some emotional involvement, but it’s easier to distance myself from it. So this, blogging, this feels somehow unsafe. Or maybe not unsafe so much as simply unfamiliar, in the way that a new place is unfamiliar. A new environment, a new social scene with new politics. Is this what’s meant by new media?