Blogger Myth-Keyboard Reality
In recent correspondence with a friend who also maintains a blog, we broached the topic of what I am now referring to as Blogger Myth-Keyboard Reality; the notion that seemingly frank and personal blogs unknowingly create an alternate persona. Jazz snobs -- the sort of people who listen to Kind of Blue with eyes closed and head bobbing -- will sometimes tell you that a performer's brilliance can be heard not in what he plays but in the notes he does not play. "It's in the spaces, man." The same is true of blogging; it is what is not posted that counts.
To be sure, there are blogs where someone is attempting to create an online personality or something that is larger than life. But I think that the majority are simply web logs, someone's electronic journal (like the lessons learned that Doogie Howser would type up at the end of each episode). However, consciously or unconsciously, a person will always self-edit. A blogger may appear to be exposing his soul to the world but this is still a controlled environment. You only get to read the pages the writers allow you to see. Before I started thinking about the actual people behind these journals there were blogs that I would read and think, "this guy is completely nuts" and others where I thought, "I am in love with this girl." After thinking about this though it becomes more and more obvious that you really have no clue no matter how much personal content someone posts online. The Crazy Guy may only use his blog as a means of venting his everyday stresses, so readers are only exposed to his worst side which may in reality be the smallest component of his peronality. Awesome Girl, on the other hand, may be undateable and intolerable to be around -- one-sided "essays" are amusing and fun to read but imagine how potentially unbearable these expositions could be in the midst of a real two-person conversation.
As usual outward thought led to inward scrutiny so I turned this little theory around and examined my own blog. What was I leaving out? What details were being ommitted for publishing purposes? As it turns out, a lot. I read through many of my old posts, because I seem to forget about them just days after they have been written, and they tell a very colored tale. The "personal admissions" are all self-deprecating in charming way -- the sad and shameful truths are nowhere to be found. The dating dalliances look like they were lifted from a rom-com script -- none of my scummier exploits are present. And the "thought experiments" are all pre-researched and controlled -- my hyper-reactionary and sometimes mean ruminations have mostly been suppressed. Anyway my question is, how real is real? I do not know.
But I am not going to change the way I do things. It took a long time for me to be satisfied that this blog had a certain feel or groove to it so I am not going to go switching pitchers mid-inning. I will therefore continue to omit facts, massage certain details, and exercise literary carte blanche when recounting The Sacred & The Mundane that is my everyday world.
...I suppose we are all right back where started so I will avoid another elliptical post topic for at least a week.