I am not what I publish

ashtray

I think I might have grown weary of online conversations: I suspect they only go one way.

Were it a normal conversation (read: face-to-face), there would likely and immediately be some kind of palpable feedback, even if negative. At least I could choose to deal with, say, disinterest in some physical, human way, as it is somewhat detectable in body language (and hence counts as feedback). On a website where everything is recorded for posterity I don’t have the luxury of such a reaction such as, for instance, walking away. And before you even utter the words “comments’ section” or “social sharing”, let me establish right away that I don’t think that an online comment to an online post can ever stand for real conversation. Also, “social sharing” is no more than a reheating of yesterday’s dinner and it doesn’t even get to live that long.

More to the point is perhaps the fact that I’m slowly finding myself incapable of sharing here only parts of all those things that amaze me, that I can’t conceive of a relationship where my interlocutor gets to pick and choose fragments of my discourse and broadcast them as an epiphany of their own. It may sound selfish and excessively meticulous, but I do not believe that those fragments fully exist outside of both the wider context of the discourse they belong to, and the dialogue they may or may not foster (see “disinterest”, above). I am most certainly not enthusiastic about sharing the tidbit, the odd post, without having the opportunity to let the whole of me transmit the wonderment in every possible way.

To me, sharing something which I find elevating, funny or whimsical is after all no more than a seed, one from which a whole world of serendipity should grow, one which ought to encompass the whole of me and the whole of you, including the body language, the looks exchanged, the misapprehensions, the tangents, the pauses, everything. If you take part of me or part of you out of this, then there is nothing left: what we end up with is a bastard, an online variant of the “friend zone”. I mean I am all in favour of us all reaching for those bits which augment our resonance to beauty, but standing alone on the supply side is not particularly fascinating.

I am aware that the internet is fantastic for reinventing yourself or for giving you a chance of being who you want to be, but here’s the thing: I don’t want to “be” anyone, I just want to become whoever the conversation leads me to be.

I want to grow, not be.

Paul Watzlawick once said that you cannot not communicate. Well, it appears that online you can, especially while trying to.

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