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Reality Checkmate - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Reality Checkmate
I was puttering about just now, getting the bikes ready for my almost-nightly ride with my daughter, when I suddenly found myself thinking about Live Journal and, more specifically, what led me first to taper off my output and then stop altogether. I have written before about my sense of alienation with regard to a platform that once played a huge role in my life, reaching conclusions that I still agree with. But this time the act of reflection felt different, more whole somehow, than it had previously.

It wasn't simply that I got burned my decision, back in late 2010, to create a filter in order to share a very difficult time I was going through. Nor was it that I had come to find it harder and harder to sustain my vision of family life in the face of frequently blatant contradiction. The technological explanation, that I had drifted from Live Journal once my life became so hectic that I started doing almost everything on my mobile phone, though undoubtedly significant, also fell short of the mark. The underlying problem, I finally realized tonight, was that I no longer felt capable of producing the sort of convolutions that I had established as my dominant mode here.

I had always told myself that I enjoyed being playfully indirect here, hiding the often painful truth of my day-to-day existence in plain sight. And I suppose I did take pleasure in the mechanics of subterfuge. But in reality this way of communicating was just a distraction from facts I was unwilling to face or, to be more precise, unwilling to be seen facing. Put bluntly, my journal had achieved a degree of deceit that I was no longer in the proper frame of mind to maintain.

So where does that leave things? Facebook, for all of its faults, continues to hold me in thrall because the brevity of what I post there makes it much easier to avoid confronting the deeper structural flaws in my world. I don't have to worry about being indirect because the very form of that social media platform guarantees that almost no one can piece together a clear picture of anyone else's existence. Live Journal, by contrast, demands -- or at least demands from me, because of how I have used it since 2003 -- that I either resume my former practice of crafting posts so lacking in clarity that even I have difficulty excavating their layers later on or find some new way of approaching what I do here. And there's also the fact that almost no one seems to spend much time on Live Journal anymore.

But maybe that's what I was waiting for, a "safe space" more like my journal was when I first began it, when I only had a few unconnected readers, rather than the far-too-public production that everyone at work seemed to be reading and, I suspect, commenting on behind my back. Part of me would welcome the opportunity to work in solitude, like a postmodern-day Thoreau. After all, if I want a large audience, I still have Facebook at my disposal. Here, by contrast, I can almost be certain, despite the fact that I have vowed never to post anything to a filter or even friends-only again, that very few people will read what I share and that the vast majority of that potential micro-public consists of people I am comfortable sharing almost anything with.

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Comments
chefxh From: chefxh Date: October 20th, 2015 01:07 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Isn't it weird when you post something so oblique that you can't remember what it was about, exactly? It does get a bit surreal when I can't understand a private entry.

I read back through the years here every day. I agree with your reasons for being here, then and now. It does feel like an Edsel dealership (or some other largely-deserted edifice) these days around LJ. It also lends itself both to the longer form and the limited audience, and I kind of enjoy the feeling of anachronism. It helps that most days, I prefer to be where and when and who I am now.

Edited at 2015-10-20 01:08 pm (UTC)
chefxh From: chefxh Date: October 20th, 2015 01:08 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Isn't it weird when you post something so oblique that you can't remember what it was about, exactly?

I read back through the years here every day. I agree with your reasons for being here, then and now. It does feel like an Edsel dealership (or some other largely-deserted edifice) these days around LJ. It also lends itself both to the longer form and the limited audience, and I kind of enjoy the feeling of anachronism. It helps that most days, I prefer to be where and when and who I am now.
masoo From: masoo Date: October 20th, 2015 05:44 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I read every word you post here. This is partly because I am alerted to your posts on my feed reader, so I know they are there in real time. I've always appreciated the way you treated LJ as a community ... it helped me understand the place LJ holds in the hearts of its users. I'm not one of those people ... I have an LJ account simply so that I can read and comment on the journals of my friends. But it does seem like people post more "personal" material here, even if the posts are "indirect".

I've given much thought recently about how I decide where to post stuff. My own writing, but also links to other things. Facebook, my blog, Twitter, Google+ ... I imagine the various audiences and post where I think is best, even though I don't know why I decide what I decide. So I empathize with the quandary of where to put what.

As for my blog, which is the closest thing I have to your LJ, I hide in plain sight in two ways. First and foremost, there's my blog's motto ... I talk about myself by talking about something else. Second, I only have a "micro-public", so I don't have to worry that anyone actually reads what I post. But I also have an out: Google likes me, and strangers read my blog in passing. So even as I am hiding, I am secretly hoping that I have a vast silent audience.
alsoname From: alsoname Date: October 20th, 2015 07:32 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I didn't know that 2010 filter turned around to bite you in the ass. I'm sorry. My own LJ difficulties led to me shutting down a mixed public/friends-only LJ in favor of a completely friends-only LJ. No matter how banal a post is, I will never publish something publicly anymore.. It made me sad at first, but it also took a huge psychic weight off of me.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: October 21st, 2015 02:46 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I also don't quite remember how the filter thing went ass-biting awry but I think this "or, to be more precise, unwilling to be seen facing." is dead on truth, or at least it matches what I have always thought was the truth so good 'nuff! :)

I know you always claimed to enjoy it -- I remember once naively suggesting you just talk-to-text your posts on your phone when you had brought up the smartphone/lack of time because helping your dad thing, and you commenting on how your *speaking your writing* wasn't the same as your writing here, did't come out the same, wasn't crafted the same, and you liked the crafting -- but it always struck me as exhausting. That is, in big part though, because my speaking is pretty much identical to my "writing" and I don't craft anything or, if I do, it's crafted before it even leaves my brain! :)

You might want to check out 750words. I know people who love it and it might be something you'd enjoy stepping in to first as you "safe space", until a month of writing every single day works out any "jitters" if you will. I have people on my flist who write in 750words and then port it here because they say just the act of writing on that forum feels different to them than writing here. More freeing. Even when they know they will likely share it here anyway, there's still a different level of letting go.

My LJ is almost completely F-locked (filtered or otherwise) now just because it is easier than determining whether or not something I post is compromising someone *else's* privacy (via google search or ljseek or whatever) if I leave it public. I know some people use code names and things for people/family/friends/workplaces to avoid that worry but since my LJ started out pretty open about who I actually was In Real Life, it's easier now to just lock everything than worry about making up a system for discretion at this point.
flw From: flw Date: October 23rd, 2015 06:36 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

traffic analysis

Livejournal gives a good lesson in traffic analysis. It's a lesson that they order the police, for instance, to learn. Don't say anything to anyone. You never know who can string what to who, where, when or why. You never know what might be misunderstood. You don't know the consequences of someone misunderstanding, presuming, guessing, outright lying... You never know what combination of misunderstood half-truths can land you in real or imaginary trouble. Anything at all can happen. It's better to not say anything at all. You think you can control it (filter it). You think you can reduce risk. You can't. It's all or nothing. And the only people in a position to think that they can lose everything and be just fine (or not even think that that could happen) are 13 to 20 year olds. Even they tend to get cornered by traffic analysis within a year or two.
bitterlawngnome From: bitterlawngnome Date: October 26th, 2015 04:25 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
As week, I think we've all become a bit more oblique and wary of social media in general. Partly age, and seeing how being open played out, partly the progressively more obvious and invasive nature of surveillance from multiple directions.
croneitude From: croneitude Date: October 30th, 2015 10:03 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'm most comfortable with a micro-micro-micro audience these days, in "live" journal(ing), or increasingly, in life. Facebook seems to be somewhat different, but even there I find I'm more reserved than I used to be, or at least it feels that way.
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