The cardinal rule of the internet is that you will never understand it. The moment you think you have it understood, the second you feel comfortable, something will happen that will make you do a double take. Take this blog for instance. Now I am the first to admit that I have been a bit… negligent. That’s the only word that can sum up my act of leaving it desolate and abandoned for nearly, what, three months? Four? I feel like I’ve treated it like I do my house plants, and my house plants have never fared well.
But unlike my house plants, this blog hasn’t withered, which is what I mean when I say the internet is a strange place. This month, on Oct 11th my blog received nearly 6000 hits in one day – ONE DAY! Why did this happen? Where did you people appear from? Why do you all love that one post I did about Ewan Mcgregor’s penis? Jesus, get your act together internet.
Of course, stranger things have happened on the internet than just my blog getting a self-esteem boost (yes, the reason I am writing on here again is down to flattery, I’m weak like that). Take for instance http://fortydaysofdating.com/ – I know you’ve all heard about this viral sensation.
If you haven’t (jesus, have you lived under a rock?) then let me sum up the project for you. Two attractive friends spent fourty days forcing themselves to be in a relationship to see if real emotions, or as tumblr likes to call them, ‘feelz’, could develop. If you want to know the results of this social experiment, I highly recommend that you give their blog a read through as it is a fantastic read, but this particular blog post isn’t about the love affair between two hipsters but the idea of our lives and the internet. Or rather, our emotional lives and the internet.
I can’t help but wonder, as I look at two people write openly and honestly about love, sex and friendship, whether or not the boundary between our online lives and our virtual lives is slowly disappearing.
I will be the first to admit that my virtual persona is very much a calculated construct. When I update my Facebook, I careful present to the world a version of myself that I would consider cool – whatever that means. I post pictures of myself in bars, I show myself smiling and I only ever reveal the things I’ve succeed in. I never show myself as a failure. I don’t want people to see my emotional break downs.
My need to present myself in a certain light is another part of my blogging absence. Around the time of my departure from ladybitsandbobs, I suffered a pretty nasty break-up. Not nasty in the sense that there was yelling, but nasty in the sense that it hit me pretty hard. For a long time it was all that I could think about, so naturally it was all I wanted to write about. But how do you write about your feelings regarding another person, when said other person can just go a quick google search and have it before their very eyes?
When I look at the fourty days of dating blog, I wonder if what those two people revealed was true to themselves. Are they telling the whole truth? Because when it comes to relationships and the fall-out of a relationship, people can discover sides to themselves that can be pretty ugly.
We all leap at the chance to show people that we’re eating in fancy places, but would need the threat of death to reveal to the world how we get ourselves through our emotional hiccups. But maybe this is changing.
Maybe in the future facebook will be replaced by something that isn’t reliant of taking people’s lives on face-value. Could you see yourself using the new social media called FEELZbook?
‘Today Heather has watched two seasons of Sex and the City in one sitting because she is trying to convince herself that singlehood is amazing and not an indication of her failed love life.’
‘This evening Heather joined an online dating site because she is lonely.’
‘This morning Heather deleted her online dating profile because all the men scared her and made cats a very viable option.’
While these statuses would by no means gather me cool point, and are nowhere near as transferable to the likes of instagram, I wonder if this is where our internet lives are heading. And if this is what the internet of the future is made up of, what would your future profile say about you?