Blogging is a big deal at Evergreen Valley High School, a new, technology-rich school in San Jose. Some 200 students — about one out of eight — blog at Xanga.com, reports the San Jose Mercury News. Students call their blogs “my Xanga.”
On Xanga, cliques form through “blogrings” — groups of journals posted by users with shared interest. Anyone can create or join a blogring, which include ones aimed at Japanese anime enthusiasts, students who live in the 408 area code and girls who are “boyfriendless.”
On a recent day, 220 users had joined the main Evergreen blogring; there were 23 on a blogring for Evergreen’s band and three on one for the school’s cheerleaders.
. . . Most teens abide by an unwritten code of the blogosphere: What happens online stays online. Many have digital friendships with classmates but never socialize in real life “because we don’t hang with the same crowd,” as one Evergreen student explained.
Karen Huang, a 15-year-old freshman at Evergreen, carried on a virtual relationship in every way — and the guy never knew it. Intrigued by a cute classmate at school, she found out who he was and began reading his Xanga. “Noooo, I never talked to him,” said Huang, aghast at the prospect of a face-to-face conversation with the boy. “But I read his Xanga every day and learned a lot about him.” After a few months, she decided he was “too weird.” The flirtation ended without the two ever speaking.
When a gay student was mocked on a malicious Xanga, it tripled his traffic; most of the new visitors expressed support for his openness.
More than half of Evergreen students come from Vietnamese, Chinese and Filipino families. Most are middle class. Perhaps Asian-American students prefer to communicate emotions at a distance. Or perhaps they’re just part of a wired generation that uses all the communications tools they’ve got.