Bloggers: The Real and the Imagined

Wizard-of-oz_hologram

As a nurse, especially when working as a psych nurse, we are taught to read body language, to pick up on subtle biological cues, note changed inflections and tones when listening to words spoken.  You get none of that online. Even when you are acute enough to read between the lines, it’s not the same thing.  You are working off of one sense, and your brain has to assimilate the information from there.  The other four senses are impaired.  We are all reading with impaired senses. There is no real emotion in it, only the sense of sight, you see the words, your mind has to create the rest and none of us think quite alike.  What you write is subject to interpretation by the reader. We are operating like the drunk driver.

When writing novels, we are always writing from our own perceptions, trying to convey a personality through words. Not our own personality, but the character’s personality.  Their mannerism, mood, actions, reactions, language, how they uniquely interact with the world around them. A world that we also created.

Many bloggers, especially anonymous bloggers who have created an online persona of sorts, do the same.  The ones who use a character image to write and respond to comments are really adept at projecting an image they wish you to see; like Mr. and Mrs. Bojangles (Not really characters that I know of, I am making them up for demonstration purposes). She signs her comments Mrs. B and he signs his comments Mr. B.  They take turns posting whatever they wish the world to know about the Bojangles and how the Bojangles receive the world around them.

They might really be Mr. and Mrs. Morgan down the street. He may kick his dog and she may beat her kids, you really don’t know them. Online, they are a sweet little old couple who offer advice to young people on starting a family. Then again, they may be ministers of their church and dutifully assist their parish in all manner of life’s challenges. Again, you don’t know.  You just know their online persona.

ozLike the Wizard of OZ, they are protected by a curtain of anonymity.

Do you ever wonder about the people you meet online? Surely you do.

Then, there are bloggers who write outright, open about themselves and their personal lives, their work, their talents, their writing process, their ambitions, the way they perceive the world around them, signing their writing by their real life name, posting it at the top of their blog as I do.  How well do you really know them? Being online, you don’t see their flaws of character, that they bite their nails, never comb their hair, cross their legs and & arms when seated, and smell like yesterday’s cheese. You also don’t see their strengths of character, the way they shake a hand, their smiles, their infectious laugh, the way they always hold the door for others.  You can only guess, by the words they write, what they must be like in “Real Life”.

Whether it is the “real you” or a persona that you have imaginatively created, I am truly amazed with you all, from the 25 year old unemployed Australian guy sitting in a coffee shop with the brilliant mind looking for his niche that ponders life and its meaning, to the passionate 20 year old writing majestic prose and poetry lamenting lost love, from the quirky 80 yo great-grandma who recalls history with a twist of lime, to the struggling 30-something writer who ambitiously defeats personal odds to develop an entire series of marketable books.  The guy next door, the lady with 9 kids, the satirical comedian, the girl coping with mental illness and drug addiction, you are all why I keep coming back. I love the diversity that is you, real or imagined.

The collective consciousness of the blogosphere is both mystifying and marvelous!

39 thoughts on “Bloggers: The Real and the Imagined

  1. FYI – I’m one of those what you see is what you get. I say it like it is. No hidden agenda. If you don’t like it, that’s okay. If you do, that’s ok too. I may reveal too much of myself. No real secrets here.

  2. Way back when Livejournal was the big thing, two guys I went to college with made an experiment. They created a blog that was being shared by high school sweethearts and set out to see how many people would believe them. Only a few people knew and they maintained their real blogs too. So, the rest of us were suddenly introduced to ‘the most vapid and ridiculous’ couple ever. It was ridiculous, but was designed with enough emotion and realism that many thought it was true. Eventually the truth came out because the guys wanted to move on or something. It really showed how it can be anything on the other side of the screen.

    1. That’s hilarious! I know that I am bamboozled by some of the blogs that I read, but they are fun just the same. I know also, that there are so many really cool folk I would have never had the pleasure to get to know without WP…real or imagined.

    1. You are real Papi, and I have seen your handsome pic on Facebook. but you have the perfect creative talent to develop an online persona that could keep people in stitches of laughter. You just do. Pick a name, and make it work 🙂

    1. Audrey is real 🙂
      Some of the characters that I run across are quite amusing. I hope I hope this didn’t come across like I was putting the anonymous blogger down for being who they have us perceive. There are some awesomely creative people out here. 🙂

        1. True. I am always inspired by the many different personalities, and rarely do I not see them getting along with each other. I wonder sometimes what it would be like to have a big group of them in my living room though…for real.

    1. LOL…and a very nice old guy who has a witty sense of humor and a kind heart. I am so looking forward to that first book. You know, that the traditional publishing has taken its time makes me feel a little less stressed about having to produce. I mean, I published a book this year, and I have yet to get passionately committed to either of three WIPs. It hasn’t hit me yet, with a stand alone book, just what I want to do next…not like it needs too, not yet. And that’s okay.

        1. That is some real progress though, John! It’s more than exciting to have come this far so quickly. Seems like a long time because you are waiting on the first one, but look what you have accomplished meanwhile!

  3. I do wonder about the people I meet online. I heard it said once that ‘we see the highlight reel of others and struggle with our own behind- the-scenes life.’ I like when people are open and show the behind the scenes as well as he highlights. I try to do that. We’re all plodding through this world together.

  4. Yes, I quite agree with your observation of personalities framed online. I used to be some one who would share everything but then, I turned into a responsible one sharing only bits that would showcase my poetry and writing and some rare glimpses into my personal life. It was a hard decision though to mention my name eventually on the blog.
    By the way, I am the one who shies away from combing my hair.
    🙂
    Loved your thoughts about it all.

    1. Thank you Anmol. I love your poetry. We all sort of fade in and out it seems. “Responsible”, with a “professional” image. That’s what I am told by the powers that know about such things from a marketing standpoint, because, who knows who is watching…but the real me is often undisciplined, unprofessional, sloppy and carefree. Do I deny myself the unrestrained pleasure of being true to myself for the sake of meeting some few’s expectations? I think not. I only have so much time on this planet. I am not saying that I need to walk down the street naked with a boa around my neck (already done that BTW), but I am saying I have decided to care less about professional image. I am a pretty good person without having to second guess myself and whether or not my online behavior is acceptable or not for someone who wants to be taken seriously as a writer. I may have too many years and miles on me to seriously give a damn. 🙂

      1. And that care free attitude is wonderful. It helps build blogging relationships because people can relate to you. The end thing according to me is to enjoy doing it, whether you adopt a separate identity or by just being the person you are in your daily life. 🙂

    1. Thank you Mohamed. Would be nice if everyone in the real world got along as well as they do in the virtual world…every so often there is a riff, but for the most part it is live and let live.

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