Sunday, April 18, 2010

Narcissus, your mirror is broken

Yesterday, while spending a lazy Saturday evening sitting around watching movies, Jason and I decided to watch Julie and Julia. We went to see it when it came out in theaters (how I miss free movies from Borders) and upon second viewing I was struck by the same plot event in the movie as I was the first time. There is an entire piece of the film where Julie becomes wholly absorbed in herself and her blog that she forgets there's a world outside of her blog entries and her readers. She defends this by saying that perhaps she is a little narcissistic but that's what a blog is, it's "me me me me me". This got me to thinking about whether that's really the entire point of blogging, to give yourself some sense of self importance. I mean, honestly, when you really think about it, most bloggers probably have about 5 readers. Typically this is a parent or significant other, two friends, and then maybe two people who randomly lurk around reading your site because they stumbled upon it through a friend of a friend, but those people never comment. So, the question becomes, who are we all writing for? I think there's some sort of catharsis that comes from writing up your thoughts and sending them out into the ether, imagining that someone might come across your meager words and find them interesting, witty, or insightful. It seems that simply by writing, we tell the world "Hello, I exist" and then the world gets to choose what it wishes to do with that information. For the vast majority of us bloggers, the world chooses to do nothing more than let us exist. Most of us are not getting picked up for book or film deals simply by sending our thoughts out there for the world. In fact, most of us are so mundane that, if we were to really look back at our own blogging, we would realize how painfully ordinary we all are. But, blogging allows for that. In the world of the blog, there is room for everyone, especially the ordinary.

Years ago I had a blog on the now all-but-defunct, which seemed like a haven for self important whining. I do not exclude myself from this group. When looking back at that blog, I fell to the same trap that the rest of the xanga bloggers fell into, I was utterly and completely narcissistic. For whatever reason, that blog was entirely about "me me me me", and I can't help but think about how utterly pathetic my own whining was. And who the hell was I whining to? The other self important whiners? No one? It's hard to say. But, as I have come to discover, different blogging sites lend themselves to different types of bloggers. For example, I was actually criticized on xanga about how if I wrote shorter posts, people might be more likely to actually finish reading an entry. This is so incredibly amusing, when I think back on it, because it was basically saying that if I wanted the attention of readers, I would have to limit my thoughts to nothing more than a sound byte, and well....I'm an English major folks, if I excel at nothing else in this world, I know that I will always excel at being wordy. I am not exactly well versed in limiting my thoughts to sound bytes. But, then, the question still remains, who was I writing for anyway? So few people were reading that blog that it seems as if there was no real point in cutting down my posts to please the one person who was reading.

However, it seems that blogging becomes completely and truly narcissistic when the blogger starts to get a bit of attention for their thoughts. I have often heard of people falling to this idea that while blogging, if they miss a day or have bad news, they will be disappointing their readers. This gets taken to extreme levels when these anonymous readers start to take precedent over real people who should matter more than the fandom of faceless readers. So, perhaps the motivation to blog is, at its core, narcissistic but I don't think it is fully realized until someone gains that rare phenomenon of attention that the fickle public chooses to bestow on some more readily than others. The rest of us must simply be content to survive our narcissism with cracked mirrors, which do not allow us to reflect too carefully on ourselves and instead let us still maintain some sort of rationality about what our own blogging is really getting us, which is usually carpel tunnel. But, we continue to blog anyway, to feed some need to have our thoughts out in the world uninterrupted by the thoughts and opinions of least until we get to the comments section.

1 comment:

Heather said...

You know, I think that blogs are sort of like writing in a diary. Sometimes you need to get all of the narcissistic whining out on paper, regardless of whether you have followers that read it or comment or not. It sort of always helps me feel better. A little validation for my whining or support from others is just an additional plus.