This morning I have been going through the various blogs I follow on the internet – removing those that stopped posting some months ago. It feels strange, un-following, because those people are obviously still out there – their life carries on – you’re just no longer a part of it. Is reading a blog really being “a part” of somebody’s life though? You’re only really a part of the life they share through their writing – and that may differ enormously from their real life.
I have written in the past about filtering the stories I tell. I suppose it’s worth reminding myself that it’s not just the written word that gets filtered – it’s not just Facebook that gets a “highlight reel” – it’s real life too. How many times have we bumped into acquaintances in the street, and asked after each other? How many times have we replied “oh, I’m fine”. Do we filter our reply because we’re avoiding the truth, or because we just want to shut the conversation down?
I have noticed over time that while Facebook encourages boasting (“look at my perfect family on our perfect holiday”), Twitter seems to foster complaints, snark, and sarcasm – maybe because it’s open to the world. I’m always surprised at the amount of effort keyboard warriors put into their trolling expeditions.
This week I find myself with time to explore the internet a little – to search out a few new blogs to follow. I have no idea if I will find anybody, but I will try, and I think sometimes the trying is the most important thing. Reaching out is hard. Making new friends is hard. If nobody took chances – if nobody took that first step outside their front door – the world would be a very quiet, insular place. Sure, there is an army of “look at me/listen to me” arseholes out there, but they’re the same noise you encounter in all walks of life. If you can cut through the noise, occasionally you find a new friend, and that suddenly makes the search worth it.
Now all I need to do is choose some music to listen to while searching. “Are Friends Electric” by “Tubeway Army” is playing on Spotify at the moment – it seems appropriate somehow.