MANIFESTO OF THE SELF
In visiting many of my favorite blogs, this issue keeps coming up, so I might as well address it.
Today alone, I found the following entries on blogs pondering the Big Reason behind all the blogging.
Alyssa mourns a less-than-stellar review by a weblog reviewer.
Fish ponders her own existence and considers hanging up her keyboard.
Over in Israel, Jacob Shwirtz wonders:
To what degree do we create "online identities" and to what degree are we "putting our identity online?"
In life, we've all had experiences where, after talking to someone on the phone or via email, or after "getting to know them" via their blog, we meet them for the first time--how many times has the physical manifestation of that person been exactly what you were expecting? Hasn't it been your experience that any photo that person had sent you, literally or figuratively, just didn't seem accurate? This is sometimes expressed as "he looks nothing like his picture," or "I expected someone totally different." In either case, that person reflected through our own eyes, does not measure up or measures up differently.
How much more so is this often true in our own eyes. We catch a glimpse of ourselves in a store window, in a photograph or on videotape, and do a double-take. "That looks nothing like me..." we say. That portrait/reflection does not fit our own idea of who we are and what we look like.
It is an issue most bloggers confront at one time or another. Many of us have felt the need to post our raisons d'etre or state our manifestos clearly, so people will know who we are and why we're here. We look for people who are like us, and for people who will like us. We blog what we are about, truly, especially when protected by the Internet's relative anonymity.
I think the issue of who we are vs. who we present ourselves to be, in Friendster, on JDate, in our writing/work, or in actual live-in-person life, is a very complicated one, and begs analysis of the central issue: who determines the truth of who a person is, that person or others? How much of the "real person" is in the online representations of us?
In other words, the age-old meaning of life question: Who are we, and why are we here? And can any reflection truly reflect the totality of who we are?