Sunday, December 28, 2003

Yesterday, I was surfing, and ran into two articles that I thought about posting or commenting on -- but couldn't decide where to do it. So, I ended up not doing either.

I've talked a lot about how the rise of cyberspace has affected Baha'i discourse, but in the last couple of years, the expansion of cyberspace has made itself felt. One reason that the conservative/liberal conflict is no longer so intense is that there are so many forums that they don't really have to hang out with each other. Of course, there are other reasons, too -- people got tired of the controversial topics, they got talked out, and they are no longer so shocking and upsetting to fundies as they once were. And, the administration hasn't taken any major action against anyone for their cyberspace activity in the last few years, which was a lot of the impetus for the angry raging that prevailed between 1996-2001. Also, I think it is very likely that some have dealt with the dissidents by taking a "leave them talking to themselves" strategy.

Anyway, these days I have tended to post to the forums I run -- just to keep them going, if nothing else. It seems like forever since I've posted to Talisman, which is the Baha'i liberal flagship, and I want to support it. Of course, a lot of my posting is reactive -- I respond to what's already going on, rather than starting threads. And, lately, I think twice about whether I really want to get into something heavy-duty. I've been veering towards talk.religion.bahai, just because it's such a casual place -- I don't necessarily have to be that articulate and profound. I try to take things to my own Unenrolled Bahai list, although it being a support group means that I don't so much bring up topics as share experiences; the Unenrolled Baha'is board on Beliefnet is broader, but equally tends to have quiet periods.

In such a situation, where there are so many options when I want to say something, the blog comes off worst -- as far as I know, it doesn't have that much of an audience, although it does have the advantage that it's not limited to any particular topic -- just whatever I feel like musing on at the time, but I feel less of an obligation to keep it going. The other advantage is that I can talk without having to deal with responses. But I pour so much of myself out elsewhere that I just never get around to posting here. I would guess that most really active bloggers aren't posting to forums much -- there's only so much time in a day.

Anyway, I don't know what I'm going to do about all this. The logical thing would be to abandon the slower or more difficult forums, and focus my attention on one or two. But each forum has its particular purpose, and an important one.

Part of it, too, is that I've changed -- I've been active in Baha'i cyberspace for four years now, and the last year has been a difficult one. In fact, when I think about it, it seems like each year out here has been more difficult than the last -- cyberspace is a rough place, far rougher than any face-to-face interaction would be. On the other hand, I've learned a tremendous amount, and done things I never thought I could do -- which is worth some bumps and bruises along the way.

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