Everyone seems to have an opinion about social networks. Some people have a unbridled love affair with them, and cannot have lunch without tweeting what they ate, and some people think that blogs are the downfall of western civilization.
For my part, I'm somewhere in the middle. I've had my Livejournal nearly six years, and though I started with only other site users (and my mom) as readers, thanks to sites like Facebook and twitter, the entries I leave public can be read by anyone, including the guy I sat next to at my high school graduation (I honestly hadn't ever met him - it was a big school), my friends or even the unabomber.
Well, not THE unabomber, obviously, because he's probably got people watching him, but for the sake of example, I use him. 'Unabomber*' when used in this post from this point on will mean the super weird crazy folks who leave an anonymous comment about nothing pertaining to the content of the post.
There's a place for them in the social network family, too. Under the heading of 'whatever.'
I was a grudging Facebook alum. After the anonymity of Livejournal, Facebook was like a slap in the face. It was real. I knew those people. I knew them in everyday life. I saw them at church. I saw them at the grocery store. Some of them I knew from my high school, 355 miles away, but If I kept blogging, they'd KNOW what I had to say about gourds and dolphins and fanfiction. They would know what television shows I watched and how I was neurotic about grammar. They might read the stories about my family and find out that we weren't perfect. They'd KNOW what I was up to!
And you know what? After being very wary for a long time, I decided that was just fine. I'm me. For better or worse, I'm me at home with my husband, and I'm me in the middle of a Christian women's retreat surrounded by fellow church members, and I'm me on stage.
Well, no. On stage I'm someone else, usually. But you get the picture. It's a part of who I am. Quirky, prone to the odd rant, gourd and dolphin hating Carrie, warts and all.
I don't have warts, though. I don't. Just clearing that up.
In any case, About forty percent of the time, I share my Livejournal entries on Facebook. They're usually the broad ones, like this one, whose subject resonates with a bigger cross section of the public. I don't feel compelled to share everything with everyone all the time, but nearly all of my posts are left unlocked, so that anyone (read: Mom) can have access to them if they dig hard enough. And again, I'm alright with that. I'm not trying to hide who I am behind my screen name. Though there is something to be said for anonymity, and the freedom to say whatever you want and no one will ever know that it's you saying it. I, however, need constraints. There's no need for me to word vomit all over the page and expect other people to read it. And there's no need for me to whine and complain about whatever happens to be bothering me at the exact moment it pops in to my head. (Not that I could, because I don't have that technological capability. But that, my friends, is a post for another day. Like tomorrow.)
And know that I'm not judging people who do that. I'm not. I read those, too. I just feel like exercising more economy with my words.
She said, after just typing up a 500 word post.
I've devolved to a point so far away from my original intent (which was to discuss social networks, and how they limit or cut down on contact with actual, living, breathing people) so that I should delete the entire shebang and start over, but I'm not going to.
This is me: wordy, opinionated, a bit whimsical and decidedly without warts for all the world to read.
Even the Unabomber.*