It’s what we do on our blogs everyday.
We wear many ‘hats’ (as I used to call them when a nurse). For instance, I wear the ‘Husband’ hat, the ‘Dad’ hat, the ‘IRC’ hat, the ‘blog’ hat, the ‘munch’ hat to name a few. With each hat comes a change in my behaviour, my attitude. Sometimes that change is subtle, other times it is more pronounced. The most pronounced for the majority of people would be the difference in them when they are with friends, and their parents / boss. We have been socially conditioned to act in certain ways at certain times. Powerful stuff is social conditioning.
Blogs are social tools, yet they lack the social interaction that comes with both those words. In many ways, they are not social or interactive. We project ourselves – our personalities – through our blogs. We do this through the language we use, the colours we choose, the links we have (or don’t have), the styling of the page. And although this sounds good, we aren’t being true about ourselves are we ?
We create our blog with some things in mind:
– who and what we are
– who and what we want to be
– who and what we want others to see us as
Pretty conflicting stuff.
In person, we can ‘talk the talk’, ‘walk the walk’, use body language, our voices, our sense of humour to assist in conveying who we are, and social convention usually dictates that even if you think someone is an idiot, you won’t typically say so to their face. Think of interviews too … you present yourself in the best possible light, the company do the same, yet both parties know that each will be slightly disappointed in the end.
On the internet though, we have none of this real contact, so we rely totally on design and content when both reading and writing. And the risk is, because it’s not real, because it is an existence which can be crafted, that we begin to project not who we are, but more and more who we want to be. Add into this the many different sites to which we may write, and our existence starts to become more fractured, and less real.
It’s almost like the more we could try to be ourselves over the net, the less likely we can succeed. There is so much more to communication, so maybe we should stand back from what we read – do you believe everything the tabloids print ? believe everything written even on high profile weblogs ? – and just accept that what we see is just that person’s advertising for the day, at that time. Of course, some adverts are more honest than others, but we don’t believe them all do we ?
(I think this reads wierd … and I’m not getting at anyone at all here. This line of thought was inspired by a WordPress forum thread.)