Friday, May 16, 2008

Blogging: identity and self-projection

Once upon a time I was a prolific blogger, but I found myself to have drastically cut down in the last twelve months or so. I am not sure what it is exactly. A mild disillusion, a little weariness perhaps or has the novelty passed. It is not as if I do not have things to talk about and events to try and analyse or simply happy or sad topics to share. Oh boy I have plenty of those! current events, somebody's half sentence or a book I read, constantly trigger ideas. I start a post, collect the links, write down the plan of the arguments and then I stop.. ..simple. I just do not feel like going to the trouble of concluding and publishing it.

I find myself sitting on what I think are hot posts, which have become old news mind you. But I do not care that they are old because the aspect I dissect is not related to their being in the headlines, it is sometimes a rather obscure point that has had an impact on me.
So now I am in the middle of this hibernation yet not really a hiatus phase and no this is not the post where I am preparing whatever is left of my readers (how pompous) for me 'pulling the plug' on Highlander. I just have a lot of things on my mind- more than before - which means even though I read my favourite blogroll regularly yet scarcely comment. Actually I am not sure where this post is heading :) but let us go on.

A few weeks ago while reading Diary of Asoom, I came accross this post, which led me to think about Asoom's question 'does blogging take you away from the real word?'.

She says:"for those of us who are anonymous (or think we’re anonymous), we start our blogs with the intention of having this personal space to “release” and be uninhibited, free from judgment, yet with the comfort of knowing someone out there is listening. But before you know it you become part of a community that’s more real than you thought. You have an identity, it’s a bit different from your real world identity, yet it’s still an identity of yours so I’ll call it your alternate identity. Subconsciously you feel the need to protect your alternate identity’s reputation and create an image of dignity and being well-mannered, similar to the real world."

Another of her remarks that struck me is: "Sometimes I have something on my mind that I can't wait to talk to a friend about but because I ended up blogging about it I no longer feel like mentioning it to that real world friend".

Her fan blogger Quest said he/she started having issues with the commenters allowing their words to get to him. I think this is something which should never happen but does because as Asoom said we wish to maintain the dignity and image of our online identity and so if we are taking blogging seriously and trying to benefit from it we end up reflecting our real life personality and are not really anonymous anymore..hmm this reminds of one of Leilouta's old post ' the stories I could tell'. This is my favourite part:

"Recently, I have been very inconsistent with my posting. I have run into a new dilemma. I have stories to tell but I can’t because the people I told about my blog may read it."

Despite the current malaise, I think blogging has been a great experience as another commenter KJ said "it boosts your creativity tenfold to be exposed to so many different people when in real life we tend to limit ourselves to people of "our own kind"."

I do think that the fact that knowing someone knows you does affect your style and makes you self censor yourself on the blogosphere and because you are thinking of the perfect post you don't share an opinion off the blogosphere until you post it and sometimes you don't even after you post it because if you are passionate about it someone might recognize you one day.

I tried to keep the different tiers of my life separate but I'm not sure it worked very well because sometimes I burn to talk with my other friends about bloggers and blogging and I stop short of blurting it out.

It does help that I know several bloggers now on a personal level and so can decompress with them yet it seems you can't have the best of both worlds :) an interactive diary + a social life online and your offline life.

How do the anonymous bloggers feel about this ?