All I can say to the overwhelming response to yesterday's post is WOW. It's great to see so many people commenting for the first time -- I mean, sure it's a contest and that's a motivator, but it opened up a nice opportunity to 'meet' some new folks and see what they have to say. The thing that's particularly exciting is what a diverse group we've got here -- readers from Brazil, Poland (and yes, I've been to Krakow -- I loved it!), Belgium, and all over the US chimed in (as well as other places I'm probably missing because they weren't specifically called out), readers from different age groups, and several readers with polydactyl cats! Fantastic!
I'll keep the dialogue going by turning to a different aspect of blogging and online lives in general, specifically with respect to how the increasing substitution of cyber for real interaction can result in further isolation and loneliness. This is an interesting aspect of the modern world we live in, because much of what the internet and social networking technologies supposedly provide is the ability to connect with people. But when you carefully tailor what part of you the online world sees, and if you carefully filter it so that only positive feedback enters your world, then what you're creating is an artificial community which bears no relation to the real world at all.
Sure, a world in which people only see the very best side of you and have only positive things to say all the time is a tempting world to create. But here's the thing: unless you live in a cave in the middle of the Siberian wilderness, chances are that you interact with the flesh-and-blood world of humans pretty often, and in that world the naysayers and haters can't be edited out. The way we manage our online personas can either help or hinder us in dealing with differing views out there in the real world.
I'm 100% certain that people have, at some point, walked by me on the street or clicked onto this blog and thought, "Good lord, what the hell is she wearing?" I know it because I've occasionally thought the very same thing about other people as well; we all have. Tastes are different, and there's just no possible way to please everyone all the time. So whether you seal yourself off from negative feedback or not, the negative opinions are still there and always will be. The problem with living in a rose-tinted bubble in which everyone loves everything you do is that you're surrounded by people who don't know the first thing about you. So when these adoring fans are all telling you how wonderful you are, to whom are they really expressing that sentiment? Not the you who still gets pimples and has a tummy roll and the occasional hangover and is crabby before the first cup of coffee. Not the you who's had embarrassing corduroy experiences or liked bad heavy metal music in the 80's or sometimes puts together an outfit that fails miserably.
But it's those very imperfections and foibles that allow our online selves to be more accessible, more 3-dimensional, and more real to the cyberworld at large, just as it's the honest, sometimes less-than-glowing opinions that the cyberworld may sometimes throw our way that allow us to build meaningful online interaction. And although there's no substitute for real life, face-to-face interaction, we can still build strong online communities by being as open and honest as we dare, and by inviting that honesty from those we interact with. Critique and dialog are important to our lives; without them we never really learn anything, nor do we feel that other people truly know us.
For another perspective on this topic, I'd like to point you to an article that's been on my mind recently, called 7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable, by Cracked.com editor David Wong. I've read David's stuff since he had his now-defunct Pointless Waste of Time blog, and while his writing occasionally veers into the realm of eye-rollingly juvenile, it is nevertheless thoroughly researched, intelligently written, and very often laugh-out-loud funny. His take on how living in an electronic age has lead to people having fewer meaningful relationships and a more negative world view is insightful and fascinating.
By the way, if you'd like to weigh in on this and yesterday's topic but AREN'T interested in winning a hat (because hey, I know not everyone loves hats, and that's ok!), then please leave your comments on this post. If you want to also be entered in the contest, then be sure to leave a comment on yesterday's post, or better yet, both!
Hat: from a shop in Hamburg, Germany
Scarf (as belt): Promod
Skirt: LA Made
Shoes: Art Shoes