Friday, June 19, 2015

It's nothing impersonal

I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say the Internet has made over sharing a National pastime. I'm just as guilty of it as the next person. Although I don't write much about work and I try to respect the privacy of my family, I still open up about more than I probably ever would have shared with anyone but friends, family, or a private journal prior to the Internet.

Part of it is the semi-anonymous nature of it. I can blather on about my various insecurities safe in the knowledge that the odds of anyone I know reading it are about the same as if I'd written the crap on a note, placed it in a bottle and cast it out into the ocean (unless I've invited someone I know to read my blog).  But it is also a way to put yourself out there without the awkwardness of watching the other person glaze over and look at their watch (which is why I don't like to go to parties and make small talk).

But it occurred to me this morning while I was standing at the train platform killing time before my train arrived by making up unflattering nicknames for the other people waiting for the train (in my head of course), that so much personal information is shared now via the Internet and social media that everything has become impersonal.

I used to think that sharing anecdotes about my life, my likes, dislikes and pet peeves would make people who feel the same way have a sense of camaraderie towards me despite having never met me. But in reality very few people care what I like, dislike or make fun of. Why should they? I am a stranger on the Internet.

Though one of my hopes is, that after I'm gone my children will be able to read my blog posts and at least get a better sense of who their father was. Or a better sense of who their father was than I had of my parents. Maybe it will help them in a way when they encounter the absurdities in life to know that their father went through some of the same things.

Or maybe not. I just know I would be fascinated to know who my parents really were other than the jobs they had and the place they lived and how they died. I wanted to know what their dreams were. What their fears were. What their regrets were. Those things were rarely discussed when I was growing up. When I tried bringing them up after I became an adult and was visiting my aging parents, they just looked puzzled and uncomfortable. Maybe it is because dreams and regrets matter little once you've crested the ridge and are staring at the inevitable.

In reality, I can't imagine my children ever sitting down and sifting through thousands of my blog posts trying to figure out who I am any more than if they had found a journal I'd written and sat down to read what I had for dinner on September 3, 2006.

And what happens to non-famous people's journals anyway? I'm sure they don't end up in libraries or archives. More likely than not, they end up in recycle bins after their belongings have been rifled through at estate sales.

But I digress.

Who is to say there will be anything left of my blog posts after I've died? What does Google do with all of the millions of blogs that have been started and abandoned? Do they ever go away? For all I know, some mega server could fail tomorrow and a decade worth of my ramblings could be lost forever.

Now wouldn't that be ironic Alanis?

But who would care but me? After all, it's nothing personal.

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