Full disclosure: I started this blog so I would have a “writer’s platform” I could show agents and potential publishers. But it doesn’t come without a cost, and that is one’s privacy.
The idea of public and private has shifted. While some people still keep private diaries/journals (myself included), others are blogging their hearts out for all the world to see. Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, chat rooms, etc., have conditioned a new generation to spill it all on the web, to not hold back. Some even set up webcams in their houses so strangers can follow their daily routine.
Has the isolation we experience in our neighborhoods caused this overreaction on the world-wide web? When I was a child, I knew everyone on our block. I walked to school, which allowed me to see my neighbors, both coming and going. People sat on porches in the summer time and shared produce from abundant gardens. We formed neighborhoods, not these individual units that make up most communities today where few people know their neighbors or interact with them. Even the words neighbor and neighborhood sound quaint now.
What is the effect on our consciousness of such willingness to turn ourselves inside out for anyone to see? We won’t know the answer to this question immediately, but we can speculate. Of course, writers learn early that they can’t hold back. They must be willing to expose their private selves, whether in fiction or non-fiction. Even the most objective academic or journalistic writing can’t conceal entirely the person behind the prose.
What is the effect of blogging on our consciousness, on our relationships with ourselves and others? What does it mean not to have a private self any longer? What are the drawbacks to this kind of exposure?