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Friday, March 22, 2013

Your Electronic Skin

I don't spend a lot of time on Facebook despite all the "advice" from film promoter types out there who say constantly update every time you do something to your film.   There are fifty things I'd rather be doing than poking around on social media sites, one of them being...working on my films. I have very often contemplated deleting my FB page, but did not because it's really just an address book for me, a way to look up an old high school classmate, or college friend. But on the few times I have been forced, more or less, to spend time on Facebook hunting for some information, I become quickly surprised about what people will reveal on their pages. Things I would never ever tell even my sister when we've been sitting around on a porch drinking wine for hours. It would seem some people care nothing about privacy. This brought me to thinking about the nature of blogging, and how much of it should really be about personal journaling. 

I have boxes of journals in my closet, journals I started writing around the age of 9, where I called my little sister dumb and wrote short stories about my parakeets. I journaled like a mad fiend when I hit the age of 18 and moved to New York City for school. It think the inherent loneliness of that city at such a fresh age forced me to find company in the pages of cheap spiral bound notebooks and cigarettes.

Lately, I haven't been journaling much at all these past few years, and (don't smoke anymore either I might add) and I really must force myself to even blog.  But as much as I might have revealed about myself in the privacy of ink and paper, I would never reveal the details of any of this on Facebook. Blogging can be personal, but I think one has to draw the line. Honesty is safe in certain areas, in your prose, in your films, the the art you CREATE through your characters, but not in the posts you write about yourself and those you know. I can only see it as the cries for people who are truly not content in their own skins, and are dying for some attention.

People's personalities change quite often when they are "behind" the wall of internet, such as when they are on forums, which I've been learning more about lately to my chagrin. Here the forum members can insult others, rip apart someone's ideas, creations, theories, etc., without having any credentials to do so. They act like assholes because in their opinion, it's not only acceptable, but cool. And just because a forum might have moderators, who in theory should be guiding conversations with democratic principles, these people too are not free from sinking to the lowest levels of idiocy and acting like fascists. When you don't have to put your name on what you say, and no one can identify you, you aren't accountable for the crap that comes out of your keyboard. I wonder how things would change if they were forced to sign their real names on what they wrote, or say the things they say on the forums in a public space. Hmm.  Something tells me it would be a different story entirely.

My partner plays a lot of video games and he tells me about the stuff people tell each other when playing with others in the online gaming community.  Blatant sexual crap to women gamers, machismo insults, etc. I just wonder why people suddenly have to act like morons when they get online. Why does it bring out the dumb in some people? Perhaps it's just an indicator of some truth to their true natures. But the nicer side of me wonders if it goes a bit deeper than that, such as, an outplaying of their own sense of place in society, or a frustration against that reality. Such as, a young man working for crap wages for an ass of a manager at some smelly fast food chain. When he gets home and turns on Black Ops, maybe this is where his somewhat unconscious understanding of the situation in which he lives comes out in the form of insults to others in his online community. I mean, it's safe to let it out here, to call people names. No one will beat you up, and you can just leave the game and grab a burger when it's over. And I think that is really what it's all about: hiding what you really are. When you're online, no one will beat you up, know what you look like, or hear how you speak or dress. It's the great equalizer. It's just a shame that it levels people out to the lowest common denominator.

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