As much as I dislike admitting it, a blog is basically a diary. I never bothered keeping a diary as a kid, but I knew a few girls who did. And they would guard those diaries with their life. People were willing to inflict bodily harm upon folks they (up until a few seconds ago) considered friends, to protect the confidentiality of their diaries. As kids, our innermost thoughts, hopes, and dreams are so valuable that we must protect them from the jeering mob. ’If anyone else read this I would die‘ essentially.
Conversely, as a youngish adult (24 isn’t 25 yet) it’s almost the opposite. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that now, perhaps with the advent of the internet, publicity is more important. Privacy and anonymity remain crucial pillars of our freedom of expression (I’m looking at you CISPA), but now ‘if no one else reads this I will die.’ I told myself from the start that I wasn’t going to start this blog with the express intent of building it into a powerful force online. Of course, I’d love it if that worked out, but that’s not my goal. I just wanted to practice writing every day and hopefully some people would appreciate that and follow along.
Back to the point. As kids, we strove for validity and acceptance by hiding our innermost thoughts and who we really were. As teenagers we over-compensated. As young adults we still go after that validity and acceptance but by revealing, sometimes slowly, sometimes selectively, sometimes categorically, who we really are. We’ve realized that being accepted as the real us is what matters. Better to have a few people we really connect with, than lots of fake friends who would burn that bridge as soon as we mention what we love.
But the world is a big place. I connect with almost no one in real life, but several people online. To find our tribe we have to spread ourselves out more. Which is why so many people tie their self esteem to how many facebook friends, twitter followers, YouTube subscribers, and tumblr followers they have. I do as well. Those numbers can give us that validation and acceptance. Which is why publicity, SEO, and paid followers are so important now. I think that’s cheating really. But the point remains that although we used to hide who we were to feel safe and appreciated, now we try so hard to get our voice out into the world for that same purpose.