Or, Maintaining a Consistent Digital Presence. In the brilliant, perfect The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin’s fictionalised Sean Parker prophesises a bleak future:
“We lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the Internet.”
Sorkin’s statement is eerily perceptive. We have reached a juncture in the twenty-first century where we are fast becoming our digital selves. To carve out an online identity is to carve out an identity full-stop; the two concepts are now inextricably, inexorably linked. So, what happens when we hit an online identity-crisis? With the constant emergence of new social media platforms, the already-vast landscape of the Internet is changing every single day, and it’s fucking difficult to keep up with it all. I for one have gone through an alarmingly long list of Internet identities: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, Pinterest, last.fm, to name but a few, and yet, none of them have seemed right.
Being a “writer” (a shunned vocation in itself) no longer exists as the simple art of sitting at a typewriter with a cup of coffee. No, now we write at laptops, in our bedrooms, in our underwear. We are the writers that Lena Dunham’s Girls depicts so shamelessly; we are not writers, we are bloggers. Unglamorous, slovenly and desperately well-intentioned, we sit down to write like our literary ancestors, determined to re-live the romantic writing careers of our predecessors, of Hemingway, of Kerouac. And then we get distracted by Twitter, by Facebook, by that tiny one, or three, or fifteen in the Google Reader tab that is invariably open, by inane videos on YouTube.
But you see, what we forget is that writing is almost always an undignified affair. It’s true that the temporary nature of The Digital Age has caused the modern attention span to wane, but could we see this as a blessing rather than a curse? We might not be churning out canonical literary masterpieces (though that anything written by Hemingway could be considered a masterpiece is baffling in itself), but there is a consistency, a productivity and most crucially, an accessibility that is inherent in the art of blogging. Yes, that’s right. I just said that blogging is more art than Hemingway (though that’s another post, for another time). Or at least, it is also art, and it matters, and can equal the impact of other, more culturally-accepted forms of writing, like poetry, and novels, and textbooks, and newspapers. Further, this art is informed by the myriad of sources of inspiration available to us via the Internet. Curating one’s own digital universe can be an inspiring and important part of being a modern-day artist. Putting this inspiration to good use is surely the next logical step, and where else better to share your work than with the community of The Blogosphere?
So, why then, is this my first blog post? Why haven’t I been writing? Why, if I am so adamant that blogging is a worthy venture, have I been so reluctant to commit to the act itself?
Truth: I’m busy, it’s time-consuming and what if nobody reads it?
Truth: I’m busy, it’s time-consuming and I’m already writing stuff that nobody reads.
I’m no Steve Jobs, but let’s not beat around the bush, Blogger is SHIT, and Tumblr works as more of an online scrapbook than a space to write. So, I’m casting aside my previously-held prejudice about WordPress being a serious platform for blogging, because this is not a serious blog, and I’m writing.
And guess what? You can read along if you’d like.