The gray area of the blogosphere

I've immersed myself in social networking sites and have found them very useful for finding old friends and keeping in touch, even with the friends that live down the street from me. But you, dear subscribers, know how consistent I am at blogging. My lack of consistency sometimes stems from the fact that I am constantly wishing I could blog about things I know I shouldn't.

What I think about often, what fills my mind, consumes my energy, is stuff that is not prudent to write about. Personal details involving other people that could be taken the wrong way. Thoughts on events that some say I have no right to share with other people because then it would be gossip.

Beyond people and my relationships with them are goings on at work that shouldn't be blogged about. I would think that my employer would be okay with positive things I would have to say about work. But my opinions on other subjects might be misconstrued as "official" opinions of my employer and that could be a problem. However, work, seeing as I work full time (at least 40 hours a week) is a big part of my life, and could provide a wealth of inspiration for blog posts. I have begun to wonder recently if I could pull off some sort of balance of blogging about work without offense.

Okay, I've just spent the last hour writing out a test blog about work. I read it over and realized it was very boring. The things I had to say required so much background information that it read like a textbook.

It is also advised to stay away from specific details of work, location, age, name, place of birth, and other personal details that lend themselves to being useful to someone wanting to steal your identity. Sometimes however, blogging about these things would really lend themselves to an interesting read, but malicious people out there would be in for more than entertainment.

I've learned not to blog about how my cat met me at the door when I came home from work. In my experience, it is not wise to blog about this unless there are pictures included. Without pictures people really aren't interested.

What do you consider risky to blog about?

Small Talk

When my Mom and I were in China, we met a man and his son on the bus tour to Jiuzhaigou. His name was Qian. I asked Qian what he did for a living. I saw him pause, and seem to be taken aback. And then he told me he was a manager of a factory that made mats that the Japanese like to use. At the time I didn't know what might have caused him to respond this way. When I got back form China, I continued to read the travel book I bought before I left. I read that Chinese people would rather know about your relationships. They think who you know is more important than what you do. Anyone can have skills, but your character is really shown in your relationships with your family and friends. So the tradition is when you meet someone, you discuss family, not what
you do.

So I found I had possibly offended my new Chinese acquaintance in two ways. I had asked him what he did at work, and he had to tell me he manufactured products for the Japanese. The Chinese have a strong dislike for the Japanese because of the history between the two countries.

When you meet someone for the first time, do you ask first what they do, or do you ask them about their family?

The Mysteries of Udolpho

I came across this webpage while surfing the other day:

http://www.shibumi.org/eoti.htm

It said:

"The End of the Internet
Congratulations! This is the last page.
Thank you for visiting the End of the Internet. There are no more links.

You must now turn off your computer and go do something productive.

Go read a book, for pete's sake."

My first thought after reading it was, "is reading a book all that much better than surfing the internet?"

About the age of fifteen I started reading romance novels. The kind that go into exquisite detail about his "manhood" and her "lily white breasts". I was curious about sex and chose them as my textbook. There was a girl at church I knew who read them. Part of me wanted to different than who I was, and that meant being like her.

My consicounce got the better of me and I replace this fodder with religious romance novels. These were historical novels with bible verses and kissing but no detailed sex scenes.

Next I got hooked on Star Trek novels. For months all I read were Star Trek novels. Eventually I started feeling like they were empty. So I looked around the house. I noticed my brother had brought home "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen, from one of his college classes. I had previosuly been thrown off from "classics" by a previous attempt at reading "David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens. I picked "Pride and Prejudice" up and couldn't set it down until about 3 o'clock in the morning when I had finished the book. This led me on a trip to the library where I soon devoured Emma, Sense and Sensibilty, and Northanger Abby. My foray into the classics had begun.

Now years afterward, and several literature classes later, I am wondering if reading these classics is productive? I have long sense realized that I read to escape from bordem or what ever present reality I am in. It isn't often that I read to gain an insight or for some other edifiying enterprize.

Is reading anything better than reading nothing?