I and thou: blogging as if a person was actually there

I and thou

All actual life is encounter.
Martin Buber, I and Thou (1923)

I finally realized why certain bloggers irritate me.

A lot.

Even if I agree with much of what they say.

It’s simple.

They never write as if they were there.

These bloggers always present themselves as authorities. The way they write implies they speak THE TRUTH.

Personal stories do not appear in their posts.

Perhaps this is a reaction to my years of lectured-to schooling, the fantasy I was encouraged to believe (only eventually dispelled by my experience) that everything had THE RIGHT ANSWER if I was only smart enough to hear and understand it.

I don’t care.


When I feel even a splinter of the authentic self come through a blogger’s writing, even if I don’t agree with them at all, something changes. The person appears to me by choosing to enter into relationship through their writing; becomes vulnerable and appealing.

We become connected.

I like that.

When a person hides behind their words, streaming out some truth as if it were divinely inspired, I feel a void.


Bloggers—all writers for that matter—let us know who you are.

I and thou.

We want to know you.

4 thoughts on “I and thou: blogging as if a person was actually there

  1. You know what’s worse? Speakers who take those personal stories and turn them into polished parables illustrating/extolling THE TRUTH they’re peddling. That making the personal impersonal for some reason really bothers me.

    I’ve gotten some grief over being too informal in my blogging, but hey, why not? I have (so far anyway) avoiding mentioning/posting a picture of my new MINI Cooper or yammering on about Mango, my Australian shepherd, so I’m demonstrating huge self control. Spell check may be next!

    It’s not like any of us really have a clue what THE TRUTH is anyway. I tend to think we all have our own truths, or at least our own spin on them. What I love about blogging is having the opportunity to share our different takes on reality with each other and marvel at all the different ways that exist to look at things. And that only happens when we drop our masks and just be human with each other.

    1.  In reverse paragraph order, for some reason:

      3) I love what you say in your last paragraph. The truth you express there is my truth too. (Sometimes, we humans agree on truths. Yeah!) I’ll only add that it’s hard to “drop masks and just be human”: we all maintain masks to some extent, and some people rarely drop them (or even know they’re wearing one or several).

      2) Why not indeed? Formality is ultimately a game, a game whose rules we follow for all kinds of reasons. I saw your MINI Cooper on Facebook. I’m sure it will find its way into your blogging in its own sweet time.

      1) I think it’s OK to share your truth as well as you can. It grates for me when my experience of a speaker’s claimed truth doesn’t feel authentic. Then it’s a kind of perversion, because the speaker’s skill is being used to sell you something that isn’t really true for them. But I have heard authentic stories that made a powerful impact, and their impact was increased to some extent because they were delivered well.

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