There are two consequences of dropping off the face of the ‘nacle and lurking for several months. The first is that you are harassed by your co-bloggers because of your lack of participation. Kind of a snarky and blog-worthy home teaching equivalent. Although, I have to say I couldn’t tell if they were “hey, we’d really like you to come back to full fellowship” kind of messages, or if they were “hey, wouldn’t you like to remove yourself from the rolls of the ‘nacle before we go to the bother of ex-ing you” kind of messages. Maybe I’ll lie low a little longer, find out, and let you know…
The second consequence is that you start to detach from the adrenaline, and passion, and anguish of blogging, and assume more of an anthropologist’s view. Just call me the Jan Shipps of the ‘nacle, and I’ll impart some (fairly superficial and probably obvious) wisdom on you. Here is my thesis folks: blog threads are like relief society lessons.
Both bloggers and RS teachers usually start out warming up the audience with some preliminary information, and then a question is posed (of varying quality). Now the really inspired comments rarely come out at the beginning, rather there are a few warm up comments, softballs from your friends, or if you’re really desperate, your plants. Then the juices get flowing and, if you’re lucky, and if your lesson/thread doesn’t suck, and if everyone isn’t too cranky because it’s fast Sunday, then you might get a good discussion going. Then, if you’re not careful, and sometimes if you are, some sort of tangent is introduced. There are a few feeble protests, but the cogs of fate have already been set in motion, and your thread/lesson is doomed. Doomed to be either crazy, boring, or potentially really really entertaining–sort of depending on your ability to be amused by the absurd.
But despite substantive quality of the comments, bloggers and RS participants both, probably unconsciously, fall into patterns of acceptable behavior. We identify socially acceptable behavior, fall into line, and self-regulate. We expect a certain tone of voice, a certain turn of phrase, a certain self-effacing attitude. I don’t know why this is. You’ll have to give me some grant money and an internet Ph.d. in anthropology and I’ll think about it a little more. In the alternative, let’s throw it out to the blog collective. Why are comments of equal substantive merit received differently because of tone and presentation? How did we develop a common understanding of what is acceptable? How does one learn to speak with a RS/blog acceptable accent? How hampered do you become if you don’t easily pick up on the social norms? Should they be challenged? Should they be admired? Are certain aspects of our acceptable accent uniquely Mormon? Are you blog/RS fluent and accent free? Any juicy gaffes we should know about? Enlighten me blog friends.