I've had some time to reflect upon the effects of the blog-storm that occurred earlier this week (you know what I'm talking about). This experience has given me some interesting insights about blogging and the nature of the blog, and probably social media in general. Being the sort of person that I am, I find myself unable to keep these insights to myself, so I'll share them here. Take whatever you think is of use, and leave the rest behind :-)
(1) What one has posted cannot be unposted: This is true even though it is possible for you to remove your own post after you have posted it. The moment one posts something, it is there for the entire blogosphere to see, even if only for a few seconds. What this means is that the message that you have sent out remains indelibly etched in the consciousness of whoever happens to see it. While you can remove the post, you cannot remove the message that has been imprinted upon the mind of your reader. For better or for worse, this message will stick in the reader's mind, and inform his or her impression of the nature of your writing and, by extension, who he or she thinks you are as a person. Therefore, if one cares at all about what others think about him or her, one would apply the same general rule to blogging as to speaking: Watch what you blog.
Of course, it is possible that perhaps one's yoga practice is so advanced that one is no longer capable of being affected by what others think of oneself: In other words, one would then possess the siddhi of being impervious to others' opinions. If you do possess this siddhi, then this point doesn't apply to you. Mere mortals like me, however, have no choice but to humbly accept and work with this reality :-)
(2) Blog comments have a snow-ball effect: To illustrate what I'm talking about, let us consider the recent blog-storm (again, you know what I'm talking about). Looking again at the, ahem, infamous post that started this whole thing, I noticed that most of the comments were short quips that tried to express what the author was feeling or thinking in a few short words ("PUKE!", "Low brow", "Noooooo"). None of these comments were particularly negative or damaging to anybody in and of themselves. However, I think that a negative comment, however insignificant in and of itself, has a tendency to attract other comments of the same emotional valience. Why does this happen? I don't know, it just does. Anyway, before you know it, you have five to ten such comments, cumulating in a wave of negative energy that is much greater than the sum of its parts.
Why should anyone care about this phenomenon? Well, here's why: Even if you happen to have the siddhi of being impervious to others' opinions, and thus cannot be affected in any way, shape or form by such cumulative negativity, you probably should spare a thought for your less well-endowed fellow blogosphere inhabitants (like me, for instance :-)). I'm not advocating self-censorhip; I'm just saying that blogging is like yoga practice; it can't hurt to have a certain level of mindfulness.
(3) The blog tends to magnify certain characteristics of the blogger to the exclusion of others: This cuts two ways. If I write something on my blog that severely offends somebody (and I am quite sure I have done that before, unfortunately), I will become the biggest A-hole in the universe, as far as that person is concerned. This is because that person has no other frame of reference with regard to me; he or she cannot possibly know what kind of person I am in my off-blog life. Conversely, it is also quite possible for me to write something that really reasonates with somebody, and for that person to then regard me as the best thing since... sliced bread (I know, this is a cliche, but I can't think of a better expression right this very moment :-)).
So again, unless you possess the siddhi of being impervious to others' opinions, you might also want to keep this in mind. Maybe you already know this, anyway...
Just thought I'd share these little insights. I apologize if this post comes across as being didactic (but then, what do I do for a living? :-)).
May the Force be with you.