Saturday, May 3, 2008

Trusting a Blog Community... Is it possible?

The blog I just couldn’t stop reading was Borderline Teacher. (

Entries : Borderline teacher Sunday January 22, 2006

Deal or No Deal April 18, 2006

Here are two amazing posts from this blog. What’s amazing about this blog is how she captures the thought processes of a recovering addict. As time moves on, we witness the process of self-discovery. Good AND bad. In some posts she’ll notice she is becoming obsessed with something else so she can cope with life. Yet, the true strength of the blog—which must be the reason why she shares—comes through the support found in her comments. At times, people will leave comments like Cusson on December 20, 2006. Cussons wrote, “Hi! We run a work related website and would like to post some your blogs on our site which will increase you readership, raise some of the work issues, increase your page rank, amongst other things. I can send a complete overview of exactly what we can offer. Let me know if you are interested. Thanks, Leo.” In this sense, the comments serve as a sort of community for Borderline Teacher.

Like most communities, everything is not peachy for Cat (the borderline teacher) as some people will attack her. In one case an anonymous person wrote, “Two days ago a transcript of this blog was sent to the General Teaching Council for England. Esp. the tread about not giving the OH nurse the full facts. damned by your own words.” As a teacher, she faced issues with existing in the public sphere but this it also pointed at a startling fact for Cat. She is not in control of who reads her material. So, here an online persona like Borderline Teacher encounters real consequences for choosing to maintain a blog about her work and private life. Instead of asking whether a community is a real or fake the question should focus—which is obvious but not discussed frequently—whether online communities succeed in creating a safe space for a person in trouble. Or, by the nature of the internet, are these communities easy prey for people looking to cause trouble or infiltrate serious functions by pretending to be somebody else? For Cat, she felt forced to removed most of her old entries. She may have received support from others but I wonder if she felt that no community is completely safe.

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