After a lovely dinner with my longtime mentor Stephen and his lovely wife Patty in San Francisco, I’ve been perusing my ‘Insightful Words’ file – where I collect thoughts, quotes, prose, and articles that have touched me in some way. Today, I’d like to share a 2011 Thought Catalog piece titled Love in the Time of Tumblr. Check out the full piece here: http://thoughtcatalog.com/2011/love-in-the-time-of-tumblr/#12rWvHPhzfhA4e02.99
Albeit a bit long, I felt this piece hit the spot regarding the current state of social media and content. Excerpts like this
“Putting yourself out there takes vulnerability. Vulnerability is hard, and we, as a rule, tend to go for what’s easy; by that logic, closing ourselves off is the easiest thing in the world. We quote the words of others to do our talking for us, send each other links to articles and stories in lieu of actual conversation, post pretty pictures to adequately convey our current state of mind, all to avoid having to proffer a single identifiable human emotion. We keep in touch with relatives by emailing them mawkishly inspirational chain letters once in a while. We regurgitate memes to approximate the feeling of being in the loop.”
“But in an overly self-aware culture where nothing is sacred and everything is ridiculed, the prospect of being willingly vulnerable is terrifying. There is a palpable risk here of being hurt, of having the fundamental you-ness be weighed and measured and found wanting, whether by complete strangers or people you could see yourself loving, and it becomes so much easier to, in a sense, not be a real person—to simply be a series of likes and dislikes and perfunctory information; a picture attached to a blog which says nothing, reveals nothing; to be a ghost in the machine of the world.”
really resonated within me. Prior to starting this personal blog and forcing myself onto Project 365 (my personal promise to myself to chronicle a bit of my day, thoughts, and life every single day for a year), I was another one of those Tumblr “curators”. I shared cute pictures of bunnies, witty quotes, and reblogged dramatic prose. And once in a blue moon, a short vague piece authored by me. Don’t get me wrong – I love Tumblr blogs and follow plenty.
But ever since I started blogging every day from January 1st, 2012, I realized some things. Sometimes, I feel like I’m over-sharing. Sometimes, I run out of stuff to say. Sometimes, I feel like I’m writing just for the heck of writing, and don’t produce much of quality. Sometimes, I feel annoyed or annoying and just want to give up. Sometimes I get lazy/busy and miss a day, only to go back and add a post for that day. These are all true…sometimes. But more often then not, I’m so glad that I did this. I have learned so much about vulnerability. To put myself and my life in the public eye, write about my thoughts and my actions, be vulnerable and completely okay with it. Discipline. To have that blog post waiting for me at the end of every day, and keep it going regardless how tired or uninspired. Passion. I have a passion for writing. My words do not flow off the page eloquently, but I enjoy writing.
I have also built up for myself, day by day, a huge huge file cabinet of memories, filed by date, time, and category. I have chronicled my travels, my vicissitudes, and my journey complete with the exciting and the mundane. I can look back at my travels and relive those moments I captured.
Looking back at my posts, I cringe at the occasional cheesy wording or terribly misspelled word. But I also smile at the experiences and feelings these words have preserved – just as the TC author states “how incredible it can be to make friends with a stranger out in the real world, how the most intense love can spring from even the most heated animosity or lack of any initial common ground, or how the deepest connections are forged by shared experiences, not shared interests”.
Highly recommended and thought-provoking piece by Phil Roland.