Saturday, May 05, 2007

BRAINSTORM WARNING In my latest Psychology Today magazine there is an article by Carlin Flora discussing some of the peculiar aspects of Blogging and the possible erosion of private identity.

Flora investigates the irony that although people now have more privacy than we did a few hundred years ago when we lived in villages and everyone’s behavior was self evident, and yet today anonymous Blogging allows us to have voluntary intimate interactions instead of keeping our secrets secret and in lieu of discussing personal matters with real world confidants.

Psychologist Jeffrey Singer states that Blogging “is a way in which our lives seem valid only if they obtain some veneer of media recognition. You become a character, a speaking part, in the larger theatre of society.”

T or F?

“A Blog makes your mundane life into an electronic saga that turns you into something more than am anonymous drone in a technological and impersonal world.” writes Flora.
“Blogging has elements of theatre. If you’re writing and you know that lots of people are going to be looking at it, you’re going to change things to make yourself look good.”
T or F?

Flora goes on to say that, “whether (the Blogger) realizes it or not, the online scribe cultivates an identity that anticipates and responds to their audience.”
T or F?

So if you are sharing ideas or opinions, showing off, or baring your soul,
“the post-posting (comments) conversation is crucial to fostering intimacy and understanding in the wake of the disclosure. You need a sustained reaction from a concerned and involved listener so that the story just doesn’t end but keeps getting written.”
T or F?

The benefits of nurturing relationships with your Blogging Buddies (whether real or imagined) and discussing important personal matters with them, are invariably tied to the risk of becoming more concerned with your online persona or character.

Are you living vicariously through your “character” in a cyber screenplay that is being developed and written by you and other Bloggers with every new post and subsequent exchange in the comment section?
Personally I think that common sense and life experience allows us to somehow gauge the authenticity of what we see out here by reading between the lines and we can tell the difference between a Lark, a Turkey, or a Peacock.
Is sharing your life with cyber-friends and blogospherian confidants just an alternative, technological, "coping mechanism” or is it simply the coolest way to enjoy the company of interesting people (embellished or not) from around the world?
Are you in any danger of becoming your online persona?

22 comments:

  1. You know... I think what is said in that article definitely applies to some bloggers but not necessarily to all. I can only speak for myself in saying that, unfortunately, I am as nutty ("if not nuttier" Loverboy would contend) as my online alter ego that is Miz BoheMia.

    I choose to write, albeit in a dizzying ranting manner but that is truly how I talk when angered or agitated or in need to make a point (yikes!), about my life as honestly as possible. It has proven to be very cathartic and, given my vulgar bohemian way and ranting style, I figure that if a reader makes it through and sticks it out and keeps coming back, well, that is a rare thing to be cherished (sort of like a screening process if you will)... and with the readers and viewers that I have established a friendship with I feel that there IS a depth to it all, it is not a superficial online contact, in spite of the fact that we are anonymous and talking through our alter egos, due to the fact that getting to know each other via the blogosphere works backwards and is the opposite of the way it would work in real life...

    What do I mean? You can bet your sweet patootie I'll tell you! I mean that in real life, when getting to know someone, we follow the "peeling the layers of an onion" motions where we get to know each other starting from mundane facts and slowly and with the passing of time get into the hearts of our acquaintances-that-are-now-to-be-considered-friends.

    In the blogosphere our innermost throughts, our secrets, basically, things that would be revealed much later in real life and usually once trust has been established, may very well be revealed right away (depending on the blogger and well, I would fall into that category) and so we start from the inside and then work our way out and maybe get a glimpse of the blogger's appearance much later so all judging is done on what is said and the sincerity that is apparent, or not, and not on appearance...

    But at first, it is all heart and words...

    And some shameless promotion as I ready to make MY way back into the above-and-many-times-mentioned blogosphere... well, just that, I am back and hoping to be here for good now!

    And do my eyes deceive me? I am FIRST !!!! WOOH!!!!!!

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  2. I'm not much different from my online persona...I think. Though there that aspect of not being as free to write about other stuff (like work, or people I hate) because I am not anonymous and I know that even some of my husband's friends read my blog.

    I really started it as an online journal to write about the kids (because I suck at maintaining a written one). The people I have met and the interaction is a bonus.

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  3. I would say that one's existence is only really validated if one can get one's five-a-dime, trite, simplistic observations published in a third rate psychology magazine.

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  4. I'd love to become my on-line persona. . .

    any instructions for how to achieve that?!

    ha ha ha

    ;-)

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  5. I don’t think I will ever become my online persona. What you see is what I really am, maybe with a few extra hidden pounds.
    The attraction of blogworld is that it is the only place where 99.9% of the comments one gets are “feel good”.

    Who wants bloody reality?

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  6. My offline persona is more interesting, outrageous and more intense than my online persona simply because that is the way it is.

    I think it is very obvious and easily detected when one is full of baloney. There are so many fakes out there. Also one will eventually detect those who have "issues".

    I can't be too flamboyant in my blog because my co-workers and family read it, even my lawyer!!!

    I love writers, they create their own world and say it outright. They create characters and let them do the talking.

    I love artists - of course. Some are really great and some create crap. It hurts to look at their work. But I have gasped so many times at the great works I have seen from several artists.

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  7. Oh BTW, I like your new template. It is a pain to convert to widgets at first but then things become much easier later.

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  8. No more so than an actor "becoming" his character even after the curtain's down.

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  9. I think there is some truth in the article. For me it is both a coping mechanism where I can bare my soul without recrimination and its also fun to meet people from all over the world. People are a lot nicer to each other in the blogosphere than they are in the real world I have found.

    What you read is who I am, I don't want to be anyone else.

    Btw, I love your new "look" and I am honoured to see I am on your blog roll. Mmmwwahhh, cheers....

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  10. Miz (Backwithavengeance) Bohemia!,
    Fantastic analogy. Everything out here is bassakwards!
    I am positive that you are a fireball in real life..I can tell from the Youtubian posts.
    I love the onion peeling theory and it is true because you make me cry with laughter when you're on one of your rants!
    I'm glad that you're back Mizzy.
    ((muah!))

    jun villaluz,
    Welcome! You never know who is reading these things so I never, almost never, write anything that I wouldn't say under oath in front of the Spanish Inquisition.
    btw I couldn' get back to your site is your link working?

    vicus,
    You tell him! The bloody nerve of some people. I should google the author and see if he has a blog..I bet he does.

    i, like the view,
    Just stay online for 72 consecutive hours and see if you can distinguish between the two?
    How different are you?

    cream,
    You are so right! Since visiting is completely voluntary most people don't drop by unless they want to...unless you're operating one of those Extreme Issues/Hobby/Opinion site where there has to be a winner and a loser.
    I like the people out because they are so composed, clever and kind..for the most part.

    ces,
    I know that you have a very good BS (Baloney Scanner) detector. I've always wondered if you were a little edgier in the rw..I've had my suspiscions.
    If you offer enough of yourself people will respond accordingly.

    dinahmow,
    I think that the blogs that we all like accurately represent the character behind the avatar. It is impossible to completely disguise your real self through your comments and posts..something always leaks through and gives it away.
    All the world is a stage....

    angel without wings,
    I can tell that you are being open and honest. I think that this intimacy is authentic and that it resonates with people..
    we can live or work with someone for 40 years and not know as much about them.

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  11. My life and online persona differ only in the number of spelling mistakes that surround them.

    I think blogging occasionaly helps the real world, sometimes i find myself thinking how I could make what ever situation blog worthy... It helps me to keep positive....

    But the main reason i blog, is the people, i have met some of the most interesting and awesome people through the internet, Wether they are real or fake have no effect on how they enrich my life:)

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  12. I am my online persona.

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  13. yup. this is me. the blog keeps me creating and in touch with like minded individuals.
    the article is kind of worrying, though... at least over in the UK blogging is all disreputable and looked down upon by the establishment. she should have been a lot more condescending in my opinion. this is a subculture! if we get too respectable all up in here pretty soon the thought police will start sniffing around.

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  14. btw HEY BOHEMIA!
    your site WILL NOT LOAD on my computer. smoke comes out.
    baby how you doin??!!

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  15. HE,
    That jun villaluz is me - menchie. I dunno why it came out as my hubby. maybe he was the one logged on to google when i commented.

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  16. I became my online persona long ago, and never regretted it. I started joining and building communities online during my early highschool years. Life was tough for me - I had a wonderful family, we always had enough money, I was loved by my parents. But school was a whole new world. I was tormented and bullied, and when my dad got us online when I was 14 it was, for me, the discovery that I wasn't a freak. There are other intelligent people out there! There are other people who think that puns and word games are fun! There are other people who dress only in black and think that 70's rock music was the peak of human achievement! For me, getting online was finding myself, gaining confidence, and realising that whilst I may suffer in the presence of "real" people, there are much cooler people out there who I can build friendships with and relate to. Slowly, very very slowly, my confidence and self-respect grew from purely online expression to become the nutcase now typing this comment. Were it not for the net (specifically blogs and mIRC), I would probably have committed suicide by now out of misery and lonliness. I wish that was a joke.

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  17. What have you done to your blog? It ain't same any more, brother!!!

    Take yourself as an example. You couldn't resist changing your blog, trying to make yourself more interesting...:D

    BTW, it is much easy on the eyes.

    And I am just the same, off or online.

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  18. First of all, Jeffrey-has-no-life-so-must-project-on-normal-blogger-types is definitely mistaken. So False on that one Homey. Blogging does not validate my life. Relationships validate my life. Achievements validate my life. What blogging does is to record those achievements, and celebrate those relationships. In some ways blogging improves relationships because it gives me the opportunity to meet new people with whom I can connect, thereby further validating my life. See?

    Next. Blogging does not turn me into something besides an anonymous drone. I'm already more than that, and again, it only documents that for me. Flora is an idiot.

    Next. (Because, Homey, you had two statements in there that need response) - I know people read it, and seldom do I do things to make myself look good, beyond using better photos that don't accentuate my physical features that I don't need accentuated. Period. Again, Flora is an idiot who probably hates herself and is projecting, much like Jeffrey.

    Next. Do I cultivate an identity? Okay, when do we NOT cultivate an identity? We all change as our lives change and blogging has nothing to do with that, unless we read about others experiences and realize we like that and strive to be better-read, or smarter, or have better punctuation!! haha

    Next. Humans thrive on feedback. That said, I don't write what I write because I want someone to respond a certain way. There's nothing shameful about being human, and for someone to reduce our experiences to acting out to get a response then I say EFF them. And I'll keep on blogging the way I want to. And I will keep enjoying the feedback, because I happen to like reading things from my friends.

    As for feedback, here's some:
    Love the New Look, Homey!!! =)

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  19. I think the author makes a good first point, but then loses me after that.

    For most of us, the blog is simply a journal. So we can go back later in life and look at what we've done. We are letting strangers read our journal.

    To a degree, the interation plays a part. If no one ever commented on anyone's blog, there wouldn't be half the number of blogs there are now.

    But to say that bloggers change decisions for the sake of their blog is going a bit far in most cases.

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  20. aidan,
    Your spelling mistakes are legendary but I downloaded aidanspeak so no biggie.
    I like how you add that it doesn't matter if they are real or not..excellent attitude dude.

    "The Blog's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king".

    steve,
    My suspiscions are confirmed.

    laurie,
    I know you are but what am I?

    first nations,
    YES! We need to stay subversive and elitist or this will just become as run-of-the-mill as jogging or aerobics. We need to keep our edginess.
    Miz Bo is a firecracker! Ain't she a peach?

    menchie,
    You're playing with my mind!

    stace,
    WOAH! Yes we are quite similar to Santa's workshop of unwanted toys.
    It's awesome to be different and I am so glad that you found some consolation out here.
    I always suspected that there were millions of others who weren't satisfied with the status quo and rejected the rat race mentality.
    It is very rewarding to find other misfits and know that we're not alone.

    gautami,
    Yes it was a shameless exhibition of attention getting but in the real world I thrive on changing my surroundings. I would rearrange all of our furniture everyday if I had the time. I like to shuffle the deck and look at things from different angles so there it 'tiz!

    shelley,
    You are a rare bird Shelley. You strike me as being authentic and fearless and you have since day one.
    You're spot on about cultivating identities. If we are growing we should be changing. If we were static that would imply that we have arrived and no longer need to analyze anything.

    Goodfirstpointblogger,
    A journal eh? Hmmm. Since you have become my e-Yoda I look to you for direction and assurance that this isn't life and death stuff.
    I appreciate your calm responses and matter-of-fact theories.
    You give me hope,
    to carry on
    you light up my days
    and fill my heart
    and fill my nights with hope.

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  21. i think my "blogging persona" and i are one and the same- i'm pretty sure my mom, bestest best friend or sisters woulda let me know if it wasn't! heh heh...
    but i do think it happens that people change... but it also allows for split personalities since one can be an anonymous blogger, and in so doing be another person online!

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