I looked through my subscriptions on Google Reader and the links in the sidebar here, and I realized something somewhat ill about my social life: it takes place almost exclusively through the blog. I suppose it's somewhat like my addiction to reading, where I feel like I have a personal relationship with the characters in the book, but they aren't real, we've never met, and if they were real, that would just be creepy.
But my blog friends are real. Some of them I have conversations with every now and then. But it is creepy that blogging invites and perpetuates both one- and two-way voyeuristic relationships. (Yes, "voyeuristic" makes it sound all dirty, but you try finding an appropriate word that can take an adjectival form so gracefully.)
I read about my friends' lives, get excited for their triumphs, mourn their losses, and feel, in so many ways, like I'm right there next to them, living their lives too. But I'm not. It's normal to feel that way about fictional characters, but I think it might be somewhat sick that I relate to a bunch of actual human beings the same way I relate to the product of some stranger's craft.
The part that worries me is that I can, in public, claim these people as my friends. I like them. I think some of them might like me. Some of them link to my blog, anyway. If I talked about Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games as if she were a pal of mine, I'd be committed. But If they're real people, it doesn't matter—even though the relationship hasn't changed much.
Sure, we all know the difference between real people and fake people, but do we know the difference between real relationships and fake ones? And how far does mutual watching go on the friendship scale? And is this line of thought creeping you out as much as it is me?