Interesting point that Mr Muddling made at the weekend (yes you darling if you’re reading…) was that I do generally react to things on the internet as if they were said over coffee with friends or perhaps at a dinner party.
And it made me realise that we probably do see things on the internet through our own pair of rose coloured spectacles or at least through a set of lenses tinted by our own life and our own experiences.
And yes, on reflection a whole lot of people have now judged me for using the word spectacles.
But its an interesting point in that the internet is in some ways a great leveller – you don’t know if the person you are interacting with a balding bloke called Barry with B.O. or a 16 year old spotty teenager. You don’t know if they are rich or poor, clever or stupid, bald or hirsute, young or old.
And yet as you read what they write you do start to overlay your own impression, your own ideal of how that person actually is.
Its made meeting up with bloggers in real life a bit strange – will they be anything like I imagined? Especially the ones with impersonal avatars.
What I have found is that almost everyone I’ve met through the internet, and I’m lucky to say I’ve met some great people I now class as real life friends, is that they have been very much like the people I thought they’d be and to be honest they have turned out to be the type of person I’d probably have wanted to be friends with in real life. Except that without the internet our paths probably wouldn’t have collided. Which for me makes the internet, forums, Twitter and blogging a very good thing.
But there are people I look at on the internet and I think ‘what?????’
Like the ladies on twitter who describe themselves purely as someone’s mother and someone’s wife – where are you? Where is your identity? Do you exist only as a reflection of someone else? And no I don’t tend to follow them
Or the people on Twitter who appear to only be there to pimp their blog – good use of social media apart from the whole ignoring the social bit of it. Sigh. And unfollow.
And talking of which the people who get hissy with you if you unfollow them. Surely there is more to life than the number of followers on Twitter? And isn’t Twitter about engagement and being sociable so if I’ve unfollowed you its because I um, don’t want to interact with you so if you then start haranguing me I’m unlikely to change my mind.
Or the people who write endless blog posts about how cute their child is, endless photos (usually slightly out of focus…) of those children and perhaps the occasional jab at working mums because we aren’t there everyday to witness the delights of our offspring. And yes, I tend to unsubscribe pretty fast from those blogs – hit mark all as read just takes too long when you do it every time you go into google reader.
Or the endless reviews – and yes I understand why people do them but I find the logistics of remembering to them too much (if I disappear into a work crisis then I’m going to forget and understandably people get grumpy then) and how hard is it to be amusing or innovative writing about a kitchen appliance. And yes the odd review can be helpful and I’ve found some great presents thanks to reading about them on blogs but there is definitely a real stuff / review quotient and at some point I’m just hitting mark all as read, probably missing the good stuff and just moving on.
I’m not suggesting the blog-sphere should actually become like the new Boden community. That’s a concept that makes me shudder. Do they really think women will come together and bond over a love (or perhaps hate?) of their prints and cutesy product names? Do they really think that we are all seeking a middle class haven filled with people with three children, a dog and an idyllic lifestyle enjoyed whilst wearing their products?
In fact has Boden now taken it all too far and assumed that not only do we think that everyone out there on the internet is just like us, we actually all crave to be the same and to inhabit their fantasy world that they create for their catalogues.
What about you? Are you sitting there reading this overlaid with your own prejudices or are you able to rise above them and have a less complicated view of the world?