Blogging about important things… I clearly don’t really know what I want to write about; I have so/too many things on my mind. And I don’t say that to appear worldly and intelligent, but to confess my mind’s habit to wander and muse to the detriment of focused activity… but regardless, writing is something I enjoy, and important things (important by my opinion) are fun to muse on. I suspect this blog will be largely unedited.. just to warn the perfectionists among you.
So to begin, here is something I wrote when I first thought about starting a new blog a few weeks ago:
I begin this blog with the desire to write about something.
But I feel cautious. I didn’t post this first entry for 4 weeks after I wrote it.I am hesitant to assume that my thoughts are so unique and beautiful that people would actually want to read them (and yet have, ironically, declared that my blog will be about ‘important’ things…). I am aware that everyone is popping up with their own blog.. along with the graphic onslaught of information I see explode all over my facebook newsfeed everyday, I am a little troubled. Though I like to think of the blogging as an expression of healthy civil society and variety of opinion, a lot of the images and ‘updates’ I bear witness to daily don’t give me the same fuzzy feeling of democratic community.
In the words of Mr Griffith from Easy A, “I don’t know what your generation’s fascination is with documenting your every thought… but I can assure you, they’re not all diamonds.”
I have been trying to cut down my online documentation of life lately; I don’t want to document my days in a public forum, I want to live them. (Updating my very own personalised highlights reel for all my fans becomes addictive very quickly.) I sometimes get upset when people snapchat me important and beautiful moments of their life.. like their favourite song at a gig, or the moment a soufflé opens and spills chocolate, or their friend walking through the arrival gate at the airport, or a delicious looking breakfast.
It makes me sad because I think of them getting out their phone and carefully positioning it, capturing the moment through their lens and not really seeing the moment themselves. They are looking at that screen and missing what’s really happening. I’m also aware of an accomplice in the robbery of experience; me, watching.
There’s a moment in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty that comes to mind:
Sean: They call the snow leopard the ghost cat. Never lets itself be seen.
Mitty: Ghost cat.
Sean: Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.
Mitty: When are you going to take it?
Sean: Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.
Mitty: Stay in it?
Sean: Yeah. Right there. Right here.
There is a place for photography as an art form and as a medium for sharing, absolutely. I love a good photograph; I love that sunset you watched last night, and those big smiles at that event you went to. But there is something missed when we don’t completely absorb in the wonderful moment in which we are are living without feeling the need to document and share it. Photography has lost its privacy; its subtly. People don’t store away private photo albums for close friends when they come over for tea. They share them digitally for 1000+ friends to look at, without the commentary and laughter that goes with the back story, the explanation from the photographer. The same goes for the art of writing a good status – condensing a real experience into a witty few lines, always keeping the potential likes in mind and the formula or structure needed to get as many as possible.
Not surprisingly, increasingly becoming an interesting area for research is the rise of narcissistic traits with social media. Research from California State University has shown that excessive use of social networking may well be linked to heaps of psychiatric problems, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, depression, voyeurism and obsessive-compulsive disorder to name a few. Those who are very active on Facebook and Twitter have been shown to often have narcissistic or insecure personalities, according to credible studies. As any person who uses social media is aware, and, as all assumptions must be, backed by research, is that those who frequently update Facebook statuses or post Tweets are doing it out of a narcissistic desire to glorify themselves. The addiction to ‘likes’ stems from that part of our brain that is pleasure seeking and goes back for more of what lit it up. The likes can become a source of security and approval; a basis for identity.
So my first blog post seems.. ironic? hypocritical?
I am sharing my private thoughts on a public online forum on how obsessed my world seems with sharing private thoughts and moments on online forums, to the detriment of both their full enjoyment of the moment, and their ongoing mental health.I was getting to another point that I’ll leave for a later blog.
But for now, I’ll just say, I have created this blog to write, hopefully about important things, and I’ll attempt to stay away from narcism where possible.