Friday, July 25, 2008

Unclear on the Concept

The New York Times reports today on a 20-year-old blogger named Brandon Dilbeck who received an e-mail from Comcast after complaining about Comcast on his blog. Comcast employee Frank Eliason thanked him for his feedback and said the company was working on the issue.

Dilbeck's response? He found it all "a bit creepy." “The rest of his e-mail may as well have read, ‘Big Brother is watching you,’ ” he said.

Hello? It's a blog. You wrote your complaint about Comcast and you posted it on the Internet. You wanted everyone to read it. And now you're upset that somebody did?

Another blog called Contempt for the World posted this similar complaint called "Comcast is Watching Us," which calls Comcast's practice of leaving comments on blogs something that " seems to toe the line between concerned and creepy."

Again, what on earth do bloggers expect? These complaints hark back to stories about people who get fired for blogging. Of course there are lots of differing details in these stories, and it matters what was posted, and whether someone is fired for actual inappropriate material or just for having a blog at all, as some claim, but a basic theme seems to occupy these stories: did you not think anyone would read it? Do you think there's a legal privilege that protects you against consequences for anything you post? Did you imagine that the Internet is a separate universe that doesn't intersect the real universe?

Perhaps Brandon did. “It feels like nobody ever really reads my blog,” he told the Times.

Obviously, I like blogs. But some people seem unclear on the concept. When you post something on the Internet, you want people to read it. It's a little much to complain when somebody does.

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