Smarmy Alligator

Politics, pop culture, and self-deprecation

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the internet recently. More precisely, I’ve been thinking about blogging, and putting your personal self out there in the world via public social-networking-type channels, like the Twitters. I’ve been wondering whether this is any good for me.

I’ve been putting my personal self out on the internet for a long time. I started my first website in 1998. It was basically a blog: an online journal (which I coded myself in terrible HTML), where I shared what I was learning and experiencing in college. I shared bad poetry. I shared some good essays. It wasn’t like a diary: This was all carefully crafted writing, and not every detail was put out there, but it was a good portion of Me. And in turn, there were a number of similar websites that I read regularly. There were women (almost entirely women) who were also writing about their scholarly and personal journeys, and although I never met any of them, I felt like I knew them a little bit.

In time, blogs were born and that made it way easier for more people to start putting their personal selves out there on the internet. And let’s not even get into sites like Live Journal. And then there was Friendster and MySpace and Facebook, and Twitter and Tumblr and it was all over. Our whole selves are on the internet. And that’s fine. It’s one thing to post a status update. What I’ve really been thinking about is the whole blogging endeavor.

People who blog are doing more than just tweeting the occasionally pithy thought. We are basically crafting a part of ourselves to share in very personal spaces, and inviting, practically begging, complete strangers to come on in. We are, in many ways, building communities, and I know that people have made lifelong friends over the internet and found important and meaningful connections. That makes me happy, because that’s one of the things that makes the internet rock the most.

But the thing about blogging is its not necessarily reciprocal. I am reading a lot of stuff about someone’s life, but that someone isn’t reading anything about mine. That person doesn’t know me at all. And now that commenting is involved, well, it feels even weirder. I say something to you, and we’re having a conversation in your space, and I know things about you. But you still don’t really know me. And blogging, too, can turn into a popularity contest. Here are the cool kids, and they have a club. And you can read about them, and know all about their lives, but you aren’t going to be invited to the party. They will never know all about you.

I’ve been blogging for so long (and yeah, not always here, as as been obvious over the last five years). I mean, Christ, I think I have seven blogs now. I don’t know that I want to stop blogging, or even if I could. But I’m wondering if it’s really good for my mental well-being. I think it just makes me feel like the perpetual outsider, but one who’s totally allowed to look in on the good stuff. I don’t know. It’s weird, and maybe I’m making a big ol’ thing out of nothing. Maybe I’m letting my own personal neuroses get the better of me. Maybe I should just keep writing, and damn the torpedos. That’s probably what I’ll do anyway. I’ve been doing it for almost 15 years.

It’s just weird, is all.

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Written by laura k

June 7, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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