This is probably just going to be some personal shit. You’ve been duly warned.
I’ve had this hella-interesting conversation recently with some kick-ass people. Adjust your perceptions accordingly because the kick ass people I hang out with may very well be geeks and nerds to the rest of humanity, but that’s how I roll.
Anyway. One of them, let’s call her M, asks why people blog. She had this condescending tone of question, which may or may not mean she was condescending at the moment of questioning, as she’s got this habit of sounding condescending all the time. I think it’s because she’s from Bulacan and their accents are hard to my soft and often-ignorant Tagalog ears. Since I have a blog, I had this knee-jerk reaction to defend myself.
I told her I keep a blog so I can write about things I can’t write about when I write for the newspaper. There are standards and the weight of so many years of tradition pressing down on writers, and there are particular things you’re expected to write about there but I can do fuck all here. I can say fuck here, for example, and I can devote entire paragraphs to how awesome Batman is.
Bottom line is, with this blog, I speak for myself. If I am accidentally racist or my spelling sucks, I am wholly accountable for that. In the newspaper, there’s a pantheon of editors who’ll take the burnt of mistakes, not to mention the rest of the writers who’ll suffer secondhand embarrassment when you fuck up an article. And a battalion of alumni who’ll tell you how much you suck and how better everything was back in their day.
All right, M says, so it isn’t much of a personal blog. So why do people keep personal blogs?
This girl, M, she doesn’t go online too much. She does when she needs to– like when she needs to look up some research. But she’s a 21st century rebel who doesn’t have a facebook account, or a multiply account, or a twitter or a plurk. She’s an internet ninja. She doesn’t like leaving cyber footprints.
Anything you need to know, she says, you can find out in real life. Or in the library. She’s impressively hard core.
I explain to her that sometimes, people like other people to read/ find out how interesting their real lives are.
Do you let your internet friends know about your real life?, M asks.
No, I answered. Well, bits of it. Bits of it I want people to know (like the fact that I write in the paper, and that I love Batman, and sometimes what color bra I’m wearing).
Then it’s not your real life, M says. It’s a made-up life. You sift through the real and present to the world wide web a version of yourself that you’d like the internet to know. And in the internet people’s minds, they have a tiny You, and made-up You that is nice and charmingly quirky but never overbearing. A Sims character, she said.
I stared at her, turning the idea over in my head. To her face I said, Gurrl, no one plays Sims anymore. Get out of 2001.
The point is, M explained, the internet You that you make up may or may not be the real you.
Well, yes, I said. Then I explained to her about 4chan and ONTD and all the other shit-sucking blackholes of the internet. It’s fun, I said. The anonymity is empowering.
M asks me if I join in on the discussions.
Fuck no, are you crazy? Then I proceeded to explain to her, in more depth, about 4chan and ONTD. I told her I don’t believe the people on these forums are that rude to other people or that stupid in real life. But they’re all very much prone to being incredibly witty most times, which I think is real enough. And while they’re probably not that rude or that stupid in real life, the important thing to consider is that the internet has afforded them a space and opportunity to be that rude and stupid. The internet can bring out the potential in people. The scrawniest little runt with not even the faintest trace of a chin can be an internet tough guy. The unpopular high school outcast can be a fierce diva overnight. That’s the beauty of it. A substitution of reality.
M thinks on this. You mean people who are not satisfied with real life will go to the internet and create a different version of themselves? Living vicariously… through themselves?
Yes, I answered.
M thinks some more. I don’t want to create another Me on the internet, she says, resolute. I’ve already got enough problems being me in real life.
Ah, but in the internet, the You can exist without any problems, I said.
She frowns. No poverty? No race? No discrimination based on class, or gender, or nationality, or age?
Pretty much, I answered.
That’s fucked up, M says. And I’m inclined to agree. #