So, apparently, a thing's started going around with people explaining their policies and philosophies on "Friends" lists. heresluck says it all
beautifully and better than I could. Reading her didaction has made several things I knew but could not articulate come clear for me, and I am profoundly grateful. Thanks, HL!
What I want to do is reinforce what she says about the difference between the blog and the person. The "Friends" list is not about being friends (stupid, stupid LJ for perpetrating that); it's about wanting to read what people have to say. And wanting to read what people have to say is a very different thing than liking them or wanting to talk to them or wanting to be friends with them. I've noticed myself that my reading list has been turning more and more toward people who write and talk about their writing a lot. Or read and talk about their reading in ways that make me think about my writing. Or have such an amazing prose style that I don't care what they write because I'm reading it for how they write it.
I don't use filters on my Friends page, specifically because I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking I'm reading their posts when I'm not. It feels dishonest to me.
Basically, what it comes down to is this: like all human beings, I have finite quantities of energy and time. If reading someone else's blog helps me focus my time and energy into what matters to me most (i.e., my writing, also the wide, strange world of books in which I have lived at least half of my waking life for as long as I can remember), then they go on the list and stay there. If I find my reading list on LJ is causing me to lose focus, making my thoughts diffuse instead of concentrated, then it's time for me to prune back. And it doesn't mean that the pruned blog isn't well-written or fascinating, just that it's become a method of procrastination rather than a part of the writing process.
I don't know how other people treat LJ. For me, it has very much become a part of how I write, and how I think about my writing. Which means I should say thank you to everybody on my reading list, and everybody who comments on my journal. So thank you!
If you want to link to a post of mine, do. If you want to add me to your reading list, do. If you want to take me off your reading list, do. If you want to comment on an entry of mine, please
do. I love the conversations that start and go in odd directions and make me think about things I haven't before. I may not comment back myself--I try not to reply to comments unless I actually have something to say--but that's not a marker of anything except, gosh, nothing to say.
You don't have to ask permission to add me, and you certainly don't need to apologize for taking me off. (I've succumbed to the apology impulse a couple of times, and it never ends well.) I would be grateful, if you choose to link to a post of mine, that you leave a comment to tell me so, but that's for my own curiosity.
Mirrorthaw and I caught about half of Pump Up The Volume
the other night, and it made me think about how the movie's dominant trope of radio has become replaced by blogs and blogging communities.
So, as Mark says, talk hard.