I’m very thankful for the easy access to information we have.
Without this access, we would never know who was lying to us, we would never know who was lying to everyone BUT us, and while I would ultimately be more trusting, I certainly would not be happier.
One thing I am constantly intrigued by is the level of duplicity found in social media. While it is quite one thing to develop a persona behind a wall of anonymity, personas tied directly to one’s own name or personal moniker strike me as very odd. While I blame this on my own naive “how can the comedian not always be funny?” attitude, my sense of confusion on the matter can really be tied to the question: who IS the real version of the person in question?
I like to think of myself as a “writer”. Most people who take the time to cultivate a blog do, regardless of the quantity (and, admittedly, quality) of the writing showcased. Writers, by nature, are notoriously fickle and emotive creatures, subject to winds and bouts of histrionic fits, depression, and general angst. You might call this “being alive” if you’re also an artist of some sort (or a writer yourself), but more practical people call this “being annoying”. Because of this heightened sense of emotion, most writers subconsciously create vague personas for themselves that they play out time and time again in their writing. Think of Anais Nin being the eternal lover, or Dan Brown (I can sense the collective eye rolling) being the nerdy Indiana Jones in story after story. Writers of fiction (and even in non-fiction, with the very subtle levels of characterization lent to “real” people in the stories) typically imbue their stories with the same lead character(s) over and over again in a rather Freudian paradox of fulfillment. Writers on the internet, however, are a slightly different breed.
I remember when I started my first blog (about 2 years ago), I sat around trying to think about my ‘angle’. Who was I going to be? Surely not just myself…that would be boring. I ended up creating the premise for a sort of multi-writer platform for news, of sorts, where the team of 5 writers (of which I was one) chose a specific “persona” and wrote only with their persona’s slant on the issue at hand. I was pretty goddamn excited about this idea at first, not only because I had assembled writers who were both talented AND reliable (almost always mutually exclusive), but because each of the personas we had chosen were intrinsically negative and knowing the era of snark we currently live in, I felt this idea would be infinitely successful.
Unfortunately, the bottomless pit of shit-talking and negativity I thought I had inside of myself turned out to have the depth of a shallow pool of LA rainwater on Cahuenga. I didn’t like writing shitty things about people. I didn’t feel comfortable making assumptions and judgments about people or things I knew very little about. It just felt “off”.
I still have snark on this and my personal blog. If I didn’t, the endlessly amusing (for me) “I Don’t Like Your Face” feature I write wouldn’t exist and neither would my occasional shit talking. However, my written words are hardly about other people, and when they are, they’re usually some kind of collective or internal review.
I debated on a persona when I started my personal Tumblr and initially adopted a side of myself which loves neon colors, cocaine, 80’s music and being a general bitch. This worked out pretty well for me at first, until I started noticing that is who people thought I was in entirety. I also found a side cache of female written blogs who reminded me of this Nicole I had cultivated and I found them all repugnant.
I don’t read the same blogs I did a few years ago. I’ve only had my personal Tumblr a smidgen over a year, but I no longer follow almost any of my previously followed and “favorite”-d Tumblrs. This is because of a combination of being tired of people who talk only about the same shit over and over again and my lack of respect for people who write about shit that is inherently negative or pretentious all the goddamn time.
Blogs, by nature, are kind of stupid for the most part. Unless you blog about something “tangible”, like art or politics or sports or music or films or philanthropy or psychology or yougetmypoint, the chances are you’re simply talking about yourself and your ideas on people, places and things. And while the most successful blogs are often full of snark, bullshit and insufferable personas, I personally prefer blogs about people who have learned to balance their shadow-y selves with their sunshine selves. Sure, you’re sort of self absorbed, but aren’t we all? I’d rather read an entry about someone’s personal experiences with their lover or roommate or teacher then some asshole’s imaginary persona.
Same thing goes with Facebook and other forms of social media. I know a small handful of “entertainment” people who, from all outward appearances, are complete and utter douchebags. Their blogs reek of pretension and their Facebooks and websites are full of fawning sycophants. Yet on a personal level, they seem to be very genuine people, full of empathy and sincere affection. To these people I say: WHAT THE FUCK! Why the duplicity? Why not match up all representations of yourself to the one that fits you best? Is there some hidden meaning behind these fragmented selves I don’t understand or haven’t pondered?
People forget that the internet exposes you in multiple ways. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said they were soooOOOooooo busy (like, are we really still using “busy” in conversational English?) but how busy are you when you’re fucking around online endlessly? It reminds me of the time I told someone I was in the middle of something and I would call them back when I was free. They sent me a text 10 minutes later asking me how “in the middle of something” I could be if I was still posting to my BLOG. I admired the sauce to send me a text like that, but most of my blog posts are queued up, so I am rarely online when my entries “post”. Still; anytime I have a shit ton of posts queued up I wonder if it will bite me in the ass in some way later. So the flipside to this newly developed (last decade) lack of privacy is it has also reversed my pension to lie out of ease. I know I can’t avoid someone with the old “busy” excuse if I’m posting fart videos on Facebook because they’ll call me on it. Likewise, I can’t say one thing and do another the way I could when I wasn’t all over the internet. Electronic ink works like a tracking bracelet in many ways that I think far too many people forget.
I don’t lie anymore, because I’ve seen too many liars. I try to act only like who I really am, because I’ve seen too many people act like people they weren’t, and they became them. I don’t care about things the same way I used to, because times have changed. Now I care about an entirely new gamut of useless information.
-Sterner (originally posted here)