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?