Ben reminisces about LiveJournal and writing posts and hosting discussion threads that “could be shared with the whole world, just with your friends, or with a subset”. It’s a part of the internet that never was part of my internet.
That ability to pick an audience is something that wouldn’t work for me, and it’s part of why Google+ didn’t work for me. The cognitive load of making that decision isn’t something my brain handles very well.
Not everything has to be about building a brand or a following. It can just be about reflecting, or sharing something with your friends. Private spaces allow us to be weird, unvarnished, and vulnerable in a way that’s harder for most people if they think the world could be watching. On the public web, everyone is their own little media publisher. In private, we’re just us. The former creates an enforced distance — almost a mask — between writer and reader. The latter is intimacy.
I’m pretty much weird, unvarnished and vulnerable wherever I write online, and the reality is the world isn’t watching.
To be fair, unlike most people I don’t have a life that forces you to present myself differently in different environments, since I’m not transitioning, say, between and among home, work, out with friends, and attending church.
If you take a look back at just this week, I think you’ll find that I’m basically WYSIWYG, out here among strangers.