I blog, therefore I am?

Kathy Krugerperspective33 Comments

It is a Tuesday, so I blog #IBOT – or NOT.

If I didn’t blog on Tuesday (or any other day) I would still exist in the real world (stressing as I will be throughout my work day, trying to stay sane on the home front). The earth would still spin, if I didn’t blog, if I didn’t exist at all in the real (or online) world. Of course.

This is sounding very existential, but bear with me.

Philosophers from Plato to Aristotle to Descartes, he of the famous and fundamental Western Philosophical proposition – ‘I think, therefore I am’ (Cogito ergo sum), to more recent existentialists have sought to explain how we confirm our own existence through the meaning we give to the world. Comprende?

This is too much for a Tuesday – such philosophical questions too large for my brain to ponder most days. Hey, I’m a Cancer, I feel therefore I am, and that’s about as much thought as I can put into it.

Cutting to the chase, I’ve been thinking (he, he) about how much as a blogger I give meaning to my world through what I express online – all of us do in how we choose to interact on social media – and yet how much more I am in real life.

Specifically I’ve been contemplating the editing process I apply to my online life – and how the bits I leave out may be ‘more real’ than the bits I choose to leave in.

Sometimes I edit for privacy, sometimes out of vanity (I photo-shopped myself right out of a photo with Debra Lee-Furness, because I looked that bad), sometimes I edit out of fear. That’s particularly scary.

A while ago I wrote a post about how we are all so much more than our identities (online and in real life) – that we can’t be defined (and limited) by the labels we give ourselves, or society applies to us.

While this is true, we also do our own PR job every time we present ourselves to the world – in what we choose to wear, what we choose to say  – we put our best selves forward (or try to most of the time) – the sage advice ‘just be yourself’ is code for ‘be your best self’. (Or sometimes, who am I kidding MOST times, I could care less when we do the school drop-off in a tracksuit, slippers and with unwashed hair and not a speck of make-up).

While it might be OK to have a shiny persona, we need to be honest about who we really are beyond our FB identities, our blog brands, our egos. And we shouldn’t be afraid to reveal THAT.

I’ve read a number of articles (for example here and here) lately bemoaning social media for sanitising our existences – we all know we post recipe success stories, more commonly at least than our epic fails.

Most of us seek validation online and admit to social media envy. Not only does mainstream media bombard us with fear-based marketing to make us feel bad because we don’t drive an Audi (insert alternative luxury item), but our so-called social media friends do a great job of making us feel how ordinary our lives REALLY are (unintentionally for the most part, hey we do it to them too).

So are we really connecting or just comparing bright, shiny versions of ourselves?

And as this thought-provoking video doing the rounds demonstrates (quoting the words of Sherri Turkle from her TED talk), are we making ourselves lonely through not REALLY connecting online?

I must say that for the most part I feel the love, and the sense of connection and that is enough for me. I don’t over-think it – I love, therefore I am.

Not all my real-life connections are deep and meaningful, but for the most part my on-line connections have been enriching (and even nicer when they’ve spilled over into real life. I receive lovely comments about being inspiring (REALLY!) and I welcome the fact that comments keep coming (PS -this blog is sitting on 980 comments and I’d love it to reach 1000)!

I can honestly say I try to be authentic online and it’s in my real human nature to be so in life, but I can spin a story too.

I can over-share with the best bloggers, but in the interests of being more real here are a few things I’m admitting right here and now – that I yell far too much (I’ve owned up to this before, but really it should be stressed again), I drink too much (ditto, but I need to be serious about ‘self-medicating’ away the stress and anxiety), I have seriously lost my sex drive (related to he above) and I have little idea about how to really contribute in the world, the meaning of my life, let alone existence and so I feel trapped in an ordinary, real life.

I’m yinyangmother AND I’m Kathy Kruger, the good and bad of it. I’m both what I look like in my favourite photos and in my worst ones, my wrinkles and my smiles. And that goes for life on-line and off.

Are you more or less real online than off?

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Kathy KrugerI blog, therefore I am?

33 Comments on “I blog, therefore I am?”

  1. homelifesimplified

    I am my full self online but still occasionally edit myself (more for 1) fear of boring others or 2) offending one group or another with my insights and opinions)

    Comment 981 xxxxxx deb

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Deb for No 981. I do worry I bore people too, banging on about balance and I also try to strike a sensitive line – in many ways online is a safe space to reveal yourself.

  2. Lee-Anne

    What a great post about appearance versus reality. I am new to this blogging malarkey and not sure who my online identity even is! (haha…I think I know who my real one is).
    But it;s too early on a Tuesday, for such existentialism…

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Lee-Anne – I think blogging helps you find a voice, even if you don’t have it at first and as long as it is true to who you really are then it can be really empowering. I’m going to check out your blog a bit more.

  3. becc03

    We have very similar issues. For the most part I do share a lot of stuff on line, but there are things that may affect others that you really don’t want up there. I don’t edit myself, but I do care if someone else may not want it out there.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      That sounds like a great approach Bec – thinking back when I say I edit myself I often only realise it in hindsight – perhaps some of it is subconscious.

  4. Eleise

    I try hard to keep it real but there are many things that I hide. I also photoshopped an image that make me look 6months pregnant thanks to some rash shirts provided with saggy bellies. I don’t talk about my anxiety struggles or the days I spend a lot of it laying in bed. I don’t talk about my feelings off over use of western medicine or that I judge people for feeding their kids shit food everyday. I am a bit more opinionated and a struggle a bit more than I talk about. I also drink WAY too much wine! I love this post 🙂

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Eleise – sounds like you got a bit off your chest then! Glad you and I are in the same (wine) club. Sometimes I think the problem is that I want my blog to be useful for people – that it’s OK if it is sharing the lessons I learned through hard times, just not so much whining about everyday struggles.

  5. Toni @ Finding Myself Young

    I think facebook is definitely the shinier version of ourselves – everyone seems to be competing to have the best job, best wedding, best holidays etc. I really couldn’t be bothered. I am probably too honest online especially on my blog. I really don’t care if people judge me though I am me. I have edited a few photos in instagram though, but I still post heaps of them of me without makeup. Infact I think ALL of my photos post baby have had no makeup because I don’t have time for it anymore.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Hi Toni – love your blog name and am going to check it out. I go through stages with FB – sometimes I feel genuinely really happy for friends and other times I feel my newsfeed is all superficial – sometimes I feel I contribute and other times just post for the sake of it. But my blog is really the place I open up (well mostly)

  6. Lizzy - Muddle-Headed Mamma

    This is such a fantastic post, Kathy, and something I have been giving an increasing amount of thought to since I started blogging half a year ago. I feel frustrated sometimes because I feel that I can’t write about the things I want to write most about because I know that members of my family read every post I write and they would be mortified if I did. It makes me feel stifled and that I can’t really be 100% myself. I’m sure a lot of people feel the same. The me on my blog is the me in real life, but I would love to be able to write things on the blog that I don’t actually talk to anyone about in real life. I should have started to write anonymously I think! I’ve also noticed that sometimes you can get to know a blogger better from reading the comments they write on other blogs than you can from reading their actual blog because they do not feel they have to hold back because people they know IRL will be reading. I think social media is often about making comparisons and from what I can gather, it often makes people feel quite down rather than connected.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Really great comment Lizzy – I feel the same – in fact I offended my Mum with one of my posts and she took a while to realise the context of my post and that it wasn’t meant to be hurtful. I feel I have opened up more of myself as I have readers who are ‘strangers’ and I totally agree that you get to know others through their comments – I’ve revealed details in comments that are relevant to the post that I wouldn’t share upfront on my blog. You’ve only been going 6 months (I’m a bit over a year into blogging) so I’m sure you will settle into the best balance (there I go again) for you.

  7. Mumabulous

    I think every blogger grapples with these questions. I do think there’s something to be said for holding back a bit on line. I dont think a blogger should spill absolutely everything. Meanwhile I have a handful of IRL friends who read my blog and they’ve made comments along the lines of they can’t believe my blog is so funny and saucy because I’m so quiet and polite. Thanks – I think?

    1. Kathy Kruger

      I’m sure I’m funnier (on the occasions when I am) in the way I write than how I relate face to face. It is good to know that others are thinking along the same lines as me.

  8. coloursofsunset

    asking the hard questions today Kathy! Making my head hurt trying to think of my answers 😉 I like to think I am as real online, if not moreso than offline. I think we can say what we really think online without as much fear of what the response will be. On the other hand, I sometimes choose to only post the good pictures/the happy statuses, the “life is great” crap online, maybe in hopes that if I can fool others into believing it, then I will too? I love your posts, always gets my brain tick-tick-ticking. x Aroha

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Sorry for he brain overload on a Tuesday morning. I’m sure I’ve posted positively too in the hopes of making myself feel better – I reckon it can be a subconscious thing.

  9. always josefa (@always_josefa)

    Love this post Kathy, something I have been thinking about quite a lot lately. I guess I am both, I am “always Josefa” and I am “Josefa” ~ I think that is why I needed to have my name in my blog name itself, a little way to keep me grounded and remind me that I am the one and the same xx Josefa from #teamIBOT

  10. Serenely

    I think each of us have different facets in our lives. It’s impossible to reflect every single aspect of who we are on our online windows. And I think it’s also okay to keep some parts of who we are private… I confess that I do enhance some of my photos, but I tell myself it’s the online version of wearing make-up! hehehe

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Love that comment re the online make-up – I’m big on cropping so my arms look thinner. It really is that balance between private and public, fearfully holding back and vulnerably opening up.

  11. Tegan Churchill

    I read a tweet yesterday that said something along the lines of it’s the parts of our diaries (personal or a blog) that we are scared to write down that are the most important things in our lives and how we conduct ourselves. I think this more applies to a personal diary, and I definitely can understand it, I sometimes feel that if I write it down then it will make it more real.
    I think that I am more open about my feelings online. I find it easier to bare all when I don’t have to see the person’s face. They could be rolling their eyes and I would never know!

    1. Kathy Kruger

      I’m with you on writing something down making it real. It works best for me whenever I’ve had an exam – if I write it down I can remember the answer and I think feelings are better understood when we write the down.

  12. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me

    Great post, I am totally with you! I am who I am regardless of when or where I am doing it! I’d like to think that those who don’t know me would recognise me after reading my blog, just as I did you at ProBlogger. xxx

  13. SarahD Nolan

    Really great thought provoking post. I have also wondered this myself. However regardless of whether our online persona’s are edited I think we still have much wisdom to share and absorb from each other so it is great to connect in this way.

  14. EssentiallyJess

    That’s a very thoughtful post. There are things I would never share online, but those are the things I wouldn’t share with anyone I guess. There are things that need to be kept private because we don’t owe our readers all the details about who we are. Blogging can be a very one-sided relationship, so I guess it’s important to not give it more than we take. (Sound like you, talking about balance ;))
    There are also things that I would never share online, because words can easily be taken out of context. If a person knows your heart, because you have a relationship with them, you can say something somewhat shocking, but they will know what you mean. On line that same thought, even if meant in the most innocent way, can be the death of you.
    So having said all that, I guess the answer is that I like to think I’m the same person, and I try really hard to be authentic, but I’m always going to be holding part of me back.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Jess – I really value your wisdom and insight on this topic because I feel I know you well from your blog and your authenticity and respect for others shines through so much.

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  16. floodproofmum

    What a great post! I love IBOT and the amazing blogs I am discovering. I love your focus on balance and will certainly be back to forage through your posts for inspiration. Cheers, Tanya

    1. Kathy Kruger

      thanks Tanya – yes I love #IBOT too and I bang on about balance – try to put it into practice, but not always well – makes for something to write about on the journey

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