I was given a weird piece of unsolicited advice yesterday that I???ve given some thought. It was received from someone that doesn???t know me well and not enough about me to give me advice. That said, the advice itself stands on its own and is sound and understandable.??
First, a disclaimer: I???m quite aware how I appear to people merely glimpsing at parts of my life via the internet. I have fun. I drink a lot. I go to shows. I LOL and ROFL a lot. ??I have more fun than most people I know. I have no problem with people knowing that. This is the part of my life I choose to share with people. This is mostly what I want shared with me on a medium as relaxed and trivial as Twitter or Facebook.
These days, people are so reliant on what the internet tells them. People rely on blogs, Twitter streams and Facebook pages to get to know you or feel involved in your life when they, on the other side of the Matrix, are actually not. I know this act well, because I am guilty of it, too. I have a definable and positive reaction to the little virtual connections I make all day. Whether real or imagined, with people or ideas, these tiny hypothalamic stimulations shoot that wonderful dopamine around all day and keep my brain active. As an information and dopamine junkie, I am a full on addict.
Anyway, back to the advice. What I received was this (paraphrased): You should write more about your job so that people will get to know you on a professional level and begin to take you more seriously and not as just a party animal.
This is solid advice for people in marketing or for people in positions with a need to be marketed. In fact, I made this point yesterday when I wrote on Twitter ???If I wanted to write about my job, I???d go into marketing and become a Social Media Expert.??? Twitter is lousy with these kinds of professional tweets. It???s so overrun with marketing advice that even the mention of the job title Social Media Expert will elicit groans and eyerolls.?? I???ve unfollowed most of those people because there???s simply no place in my life professional marketing advice is necessary.
On the flip side, this is horrible advice for someone like me who has no need to market my job and no need to write about it. I???m taken seriously by the people who pay me. They???re the only ones I need to influence. I do my job, they pay me for it. Nobody in any social medium pays me for anything, so???guess what? I get to write about whatever the hell I want to write about. Whether people like it/me or not is not my problem and not exactly my first concern.
This is what it???s like to not be bound. This is what it???s like to control your own life.??
I???m not part of some vast Cartesian conspiracy taking place on social media (though I believe they do exist, even if only in small minds and small circles), but I am in full control of the dissemination of my own information. You get the parts of me that I allow. Though most of what I allow is sarcasm and jokes via rough or hasty observations, it is all exactly who I am. I am first stage in what Baudrillard called the precession of the simulacra. I hope to never progress.
I don???t want to fight this advice. I thought I wanted to rant about it. But, I???m starting to see that it came from someone who truly thinks he???s being helpful. I think his point, his request, is to add a little dimension to the monster I???ve created. The quick and easy reply: The point is that I am a multidimensional monster [as we all are] with the right to protect the facets of my life I don???t want shared [as we all do]. ??This is what he has not considered and this is where his advice fails.??
My real battle is railing against assumption that the majority of what the internet, especially Twitter, gives us is a [seemingly faithful] copy of something that was once real but is now, sadly, absent its own reality. It???s the garbage bin that most memes end up in. A meme is, at once, powerful and impotent. ??Ubiquitous, yet stripped of all meaning. ??Or its use becomes ironic [ahem, Social Media Expert], which, to me, is a fate worse than obscurity. I do not want to end up in that bin.
My goal with social media is to faithfully, honestly produce for you my own original odd thoughts, crazy situations or silly observations I witness firsthand to the best of my ability. Granted, there are times when I do embellish or reproduce for the sake of comedy, but most posts are true to what I think or see. There are also times when I choose to censor or quiet myself. In the words of Bobby Brown, that???s my prerogative. ??I???m not trying to market myself toward to any industry or politicize my existence. I???m not trying to give advice or hugs or free passes to movie previews. If I make you laugh, that???s enough for me. If I connect with you over music, that???s my reward. ??My day job is not that funny [except for the parts where I comment on the growing militia mentality in the office] and there is literally zero demand or need for me to expound on its intricacies. So, the reading public can choose whether or not to take me seriously if I don???t talk about it. My job is only a small part of my life and far from the most important one.
In conclusion, judges, I believe I have created a presence online and built a small and loyal following that allows [nay, encourages] me to express myself honestly. I would like to and will maintain this form of free expression whether anyone chooses to read, respond or unfriend. To consciously mete out information in pre-determined percentages would be an affront to my own randomness and individuality. I won???t allow my words, which are ultimately my life, to become a victim of someone else???s sense of propriety or, in a much larger sense, lost in the massive internet vat of postmodernist failure.