I remain fascinated by blogging. not so much by opinion blogs, of which mine is one, or even blogsites such as blogspot, but specifically livejournal with its combination of social networking and blogging functionality.
Having been on LJ for nearly three months now and observing other journals, the comments, friends and filter functionality together seems to open LJ up to quite complex social interaction or depending on your viewpoint, a large can of worms.
It does appear that people can obtain of lot of emotional support from their friends list and from other casual readers. At the same time, the amount of emotional fallout from casual comments or from directed attacks is also proportionate to how much a person opens up on-line.
The need for filters becomes obvious in that context. If a journal is to operate as a support/social space where one feels safe enough to be openup then only some can be allowed in and others need to be filtered out.
Even though the process of filtering someone out or allowing someone in then becomes symbolic and fraught, the weblog which in the start was an anarchic uncontrolled exposure of self to the world is now controlled. Real-life paradigms of social interaction with concentric and overlapping circles of intimacy are replicated on-line.