Authenticity.

The thing about having a blog is that you’re supposed to post in it.  Yeah, I’ve been really good about that.

I encounter a problem in my life, as many do, concerning time and not having enough of it.  The past two or three weeks have been madness personified, and though I have had many writing ideas, I have not even come close to having the time to write.  What better time than 1:05 in the morning, right?

Lately I’ve been contemplating the discrepancy between people and their online personae.  In the age of email and Facebook, it’s usually the case that we see more of people online than we do “in real life.”  Which one is the more accurate representation of the person?  Obviously, you would think that the real, flesh-and-blood person would be the most genuine, but I’ve seen cases where this doesn’t seem to be true.

Because I am a writer (or like to fancy I am one, anyway), I believe that the written word is one of the most powerful tools of expression.  The “voice” in someone’s writing is the true essence of them, or so I’d like to think.  I’ve always thought that emotion was easier expressed when written somewhere, because some things are too painful / embarrassing / sentimental to say out loud.  It seems to be easier, at least sometimes, to say our inner-most thoughts on paper (or, in this case, computer).  At least in my life, I feel like I’m freer to express emotions in this way, which is why I often post quotes on Facebook about life, love, and loss.

However, I don’t think I’m the only one.  It’s interesting when you’ve known someone for a while and then add them on Facebook.  Sometimes you can be surprised about what they choose to post.  Someone who is fun and light can have a very serious and emotional Facebook.  (I know, it seems like I’m reading too much into this, but hear me out.)  The opposite also occurs often; you know someone who is shy and reserved, but on Facebook they’re tagged in every party album holding that notorious red Solo cup.

Then, of course, you have really intelligent people who, on Facebook, fall into txt spk and show little emotion, but for the intents and purposes of this blog, we won’t talk about them.

So, again, which of these is the “real” person, or is it a duality?  Is there a part of us we deem appropriate for general, in-person communication and one that we feel is best for an online forum?  Why is there a difference?  (And you have to admit, there’s definitely a difference.)  My theory–and it’s nothing more–is that we like the feeling of hiding behind a computer screen.  We feel more comfortable admitting personal truths to online representations of people than to their living counterparts.  We want people to know us, and sometimes it’s easier to construct that through pictures and quotes than it is to say the right words in the real world.

I think this might be my reading too much into things, but I’ve always found it much easier to express myself through writing.  I can edit what I say if it doesn’t come out right, and the words come more easily than when I speak.  (I tend to get tongue-tied because my brain works much faster than my mouth.)  What does that say about our society?  We speak our true thoughts through the Internet, but in the tangible world we hide more than we show.  At least the message gets across,  I suppose.

And then, when it comes to emails, the down-to-business attitude makes everyone sound exactly the same, but that’s a topic for a different day.

As always, my writing is nothing more than vastly generalized theories that have really no basis or organization, but I wanted to see how these thoughts would play out in writing.  If I manipulate them enough, I think I can make something of them.  If not, at least I can stop wondering about this so much.

Yep.  I think too much.

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