I’ve spoken a lot previously about the various online mediums available to us in this wonderful digital age, and this will be a continuation of that. Even in the last couple of years, so many new arenas have opened up to us where we can share any amount of information about ourselves with the world.
It used to be that going online was more like going to the store- you found what you wanted, and consumed it. If you needed to communicate, you had email, or forums. Now, everything is a bulletin board, where we can open up the book of our lives, as much or as little as we like.
It’s easy to get lost in the maze of online communities now. Everything needs to be collaborative and social, rather than just informational. Myspace. Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Linkedin. Tumblr. Instagram. WordPress. Formspring. Foursquare. Many different websites exist as a means of connecting or sharing with others. Everyone does it differently- what and how much they share is chosen by the user.
There is a tremendous amount of power here. Planning events and inviting people became much easier. One can more easily share photos/videos/life changes. Saying “happy birthday” on someone’s Facebook wall makes up for mostly ignoring someone for the rest of the year. We can know where someone is at any time if their phone “checks in” to a particular location. When the Blue Jays play, I can put my internal monologue out in 140 character bursts- or save it for a more cogent analysis later. I love being able to do all that, and see others do it.
I don’t think anyone fully understands the reach and consequences of all these new mediums, of presenting a life publicly. We can control the output and presentation as much as we like, but we can’t always control how people react to it, or what they do with this information that people feed them.
For someone like me, especially in a medium like this, it’s a hard line to straddle. As a writer, I want to be honest, and I’ve mined some of my best writing out of times of deep, personal struggle. I’ve often said that for every post I put up, there’s another that never sees the light of day, and that pattern continues now. I’ve tried to be careful about what I put online. I’ve learned lessons in how I’ve done things, and how I watch other do things.
These mediums are still evolving, and newer ones sprout up each week, everyone trying to imitate the widespread success of Facebook in it’s own, unique way. We’re in the middle of a fascinating time, with technology and the idea of being social growing in ways no one could have anticipated even five years ago. We’re constantly challenged to learn and add, and it’s all I can do sometimes to just hang on for the ride.
PS I’m not hinting at some inner angst with the “unpublished posts”, more commenting on the difficulty of writing on life, sometimes. I’m good, thanks! Work’s work, but life is good overall. How are you?
PPS Unrelated, but because I cannot possibly emphasize this enough: Fried egg on a burger is DELICIOUS.