My friend Lars has decided to banish the first pronoum from his blog, consistently writing in the third person as an opposition against what he sees as the forced subjectivity of blogs, or perhaps rather to prove that personal writing is not dependent on the “I”. He considered writing everything in the passive rather than the active too but has decided to wait on that one.

I like the first person. I’d like to see more of it. But I’m fascinated by the idea of a third person blog.

8 thoughts on “third person

  1. jcwinnie

    One of my readers*, Ingrid Jones of “ME and Ophelia”, chastised me for using the third person. And, admittedly, at times, I found it artificial. At other times it seemed to make more sense. When less egotistical, i.e., other than first person singular, a post can be easier to read. There is a certain style to a weblog that has multiple authors, yet the weblog seems to have a uniform style. Dave Barry’s blog goes so far as to speak as a blog, i.e., “This blog thinks…” In any case, it has been something that as a reader I have noticed.

    *At least, she had said that she reads my weblog although she fails to list it in her blogroll. 🙁

  2. kari

    Fascinating–an illeist blog!

  3. Anonymous

    Sounds a lot like journalism–first person perspective tucked into a plain brown wrapper in the name of objectivity!

  4. Mike

    An interesting skip, from first to third, and one made by fiction writers all the time. Your wonderful work with Online Caroline and “Do You Think You’re A Part of This?”, Jill, leads one to wonder about another possible dimension for the weblog: the second person narrative. It seems you’re talking, with such narratives, about the pleasures of submission — and, indeed, such submission is a big part of the texts you mention, Calvino for instance, and even more a part of the menace felt in Thomas Pynchon’s use of the second person in Gravity’s Rainbow, or in stories by Julio Cortazar and Joyce Carol Oates.

    But in a weblog, I think, there is an alternative to such a sense of submission, an alternative to the sense of coercion in the use of the second person. Use of the second person in weblogging feels, to me, like an extension of community, an explicit naming of the active role of not just reader, but respondent, interlocutor. I’d love to see a second-person weblog, one that makes clear without threat that — to use Marx’s borrowing from Horace — de te fabula. As it alway is: yes?

  5. Lars

    He decided to place his comments in his own blog, so as not to overly bore the readers of this one.

  6. Gianna

    Aussie writer Boynton did the third person thing for a very long time but I believe has recently switched to first person. Still, have a look through her archives if interested.

  7. Norman

    I THINK I use 3rd person most of the time, but can’t be sure. Thinking about it [but, due possibly to old age, unable to be sure] I suspect that I probably tend to write in 3rd person, unless doing so makes it seem a little artificial. Certainly, whenever I’m reading something, unless the item is purely personal, I appreciate it more when it’s in the 3rd person.
    It had never struck me before, but you, Jill, are possibly the only regular user of 1st person I tend to read. Is that good or bad?

  8. Jill

    I’ll take it as a compliment 🙂

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