When I started this blog I contemplated linking it to my real profile. Finally decided against it because I will never be able to write what is true. I will self-censor, editing away the parts I fear will hurt or damage, deleting those moments that I find too embarrassing or controversial. The weight of having a public eye that knows me, is too heavy. I journal, diarise, put intimate thoughts on paper which only I alone could see, and only on a rare moon do I share them with people I know. But it’s still necessary to interact with the world – if writing is done in complete isolation there is no one to challenge our thoughts or give us feedback. To speak with an unknown public gives us the platform to test our ideas without the weight of judgement from those we know and feel deeply for. Only those brave and strong enough can be completely transparent and express exactly what they think to their social circle, even at the cost of offending people and losing friends.
That’s why I’m not a Facebook advocate. I don’t have an account, but as a past user I understand it’s allure. Sharing moments. Expressing ideas. Garnering attention. Gathering likes. It’s a stage for us to be seen, a page to document our past and a place to list our future movements. It’s a self-created paparazzi machine, and the adrenaline of receiving some feedback is addictive. Now there are also those who have an account and don’t do much with it, and there are those who, because of geographical limitations, genuinely want to share life milestones with friends and family afar. The latter is great. But I’m focusing on the generation that sees Facebook as tantamount to their social lives. I have family friends here in Hong Kong who won’t start a meal before they’ve taken a snap and Facebook posted the pic of our dish, the largest lobster in town. As a living breathing person at that very dinner party, I’m dismayed I have to wait for, literally, “the camera to eat first”.
But that’s not living in the moment. Instead of enjoying the sight of the amazing lobster and commenting to those present about the experience, the “Facebooked brain” has already been conditioned to share the moment first with a website, to people who may or may not care about your lobster. Because they weren’t there. And because your lobster photo is competing with the countless foodie photos that are uploaded and newsfed every other second.
The Facebooked life, isn’t a real life. The more often you upload, the less you live in the present. The more instantaneous your Facebook statuses are, the less instantaneous your life becomes. Forever imprisoned by the public eye. Wait…but isn’t blogging the same? I’m not sure – still quite new to the blogging sphere. I do feel like I have a bit more control over what I publish and what blogs I browse. It also helps that my resume and college photos aren’t part of this blog. Remaining unknown means there’s no baggage and I can express relatively freely.
As summarised succinctly by a brilliant author:
“For Sabina, living in truth, lying neither to ourselves nor to others, was possible only away from the public: the moment someone keeps an eye on what we do, we involuntarily make allowances for that eye, and nothing we do is truthful. Having a public, keeping a public in mind, means living in lies.”
― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Do your friends know about your blog?