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24 December 2002 @ 10:03 am
Masquerade  
I was having an interesting chat with someone last night and he said
'...is that people "play to their friends" and tend to focus their journals on topics that interest the friends.'

Do you find that you do this? I certainly don't, to which the random collection of brain dumps in my journal (both public and private) can stand as evidence, but do others? Why? What is the true function of LJ? How do people view it? Why do people use it? How do people use it? Is there a *prevalent* culture in LJ? What are the 'rules' in that culture? Or is it a loose confederation of non-dominant subcultures, if you will, which independently inhabit the framework of LJ? How do they interact? Is there any sort of social stratification, either overall or within groups?

As I said, I don't 'tailor' my journal. There's no way I could, frankly, because I don't have a friends base and no one knows that I'm hear - I have no audience to which to play. I started this experiment thinking that no one would ever see or have any interest in my posts. Journaling in the old fashioned sense of the word.

I was surprised and amused (previous post) to be added to people's friends lists. Noticing that completely changed my view of LJ, and by necessity changed how I deal with it (now that I have a clue about privacy settings...). And also lead me to wonder about the LJ society and it's nuances. I've seen journals and communities ranging from high level scientific discussion to what amounted to no more than a sorority girl sleep over. Fabulous poetry to people shamelessly begging for money. Christmas lists to recipe communities to cancer survivor support groups. And everything in between. I can certainly see where an individual could move within and across such a divergent set of groups. But is there easy interaction between the groups? Are there common behaviors that the groups share?

Further he said 'Thus the journal becomes less about the person, and more about the mask that person chooses to project on LJ.'

For me, this is the only place where I (now safely) willingly discard the helpful but cool, self-assured, competent, 'everything is fine' mask that is the public face.

What is your mask?

Feel free to pass this on - consider it a survey or questionnaire of sorts *smile*

-the redhead-

It is not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinion that make horseraces. - Mark Twain
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I'm feeling: contemplativecontemplative
Listening to: Turkish Tribal Fusion mix CD
 
 
 
Ko'Shall Viperkoshall on December 24th, 2002 07:47 pm (UTC)

I'll probally talk about this more in my own journal, but for the moment I'll say this...

The reasons I use my journal are so numerous and varied that I couldn't list them all here. To be completly honest, my reasons for each and every entry are completly different, and totally based on what I happen to be thinking and feeling in that particular moment.

Some entries are to vent, and I could care less if anyone reads them, and other entries are for the sole purpose of making people read it, and hoping to get feedback. Sometimes I don't even bother to read any responces on some entries, and on others I hover over the refresh button desperatly hoping that someone has said something about it.

As for my mask... it doesn't exist. There is the me that everyone sees day in and day out, no matter where I'm at. I'm the same person wheather I'm here, on evernight, in person, or in some online game or other. Then there are the little bits of "me" that only get shared with individual people on a face to face basis. I've only shared a few bits with a few select people, and generally not the same ones to any of them.

I suppose that's what I've always wanted... someone who wanted to stick around long enough to learn all the bits of me... and who I wanted to share them with.
-the redhead-theredhead on December 24th, 2002 08:07 pm (UTC)
As for my mask... it doesn't exist. There is the me that everyone sees day in and day out, no matter where I'm at. I'm the same person wheather I'm here, on evernight, in person, or in some online game or other.

Respectfully, I must disagree with you sweety. Over the years (has it really been that long now?), I've come to know the depth and breadth of your intellect, your hopes and dreams, your twisted sense of humor, your deep sense of caring, and it is far more than what many others are privy to I think.

Then there are the little bits of "me" that only get shared with individual people on a face to face basis. I've only shared a few bits with a few select people, and generally not the same ones to any of them.

Which is exactly what I speak of. Perhaps it is not as... concealing? cool? proper? a mask as some of us wear, but then again you never needed the protection either *smile*. It is, however, a mask nonetheless. 'Public face' or 'stranger face', if you will. I just happen to be familiar enough to read between the lines, as you have accused me of *grin*. And I cherish those bits you've shared.

We all have different masks that we drag out as the variety of situations in life demand. At least for me, 'tis rare to drop them completely, tho they may slip occasionally (usually to my dismay, as over last weekend).

-the redhead-
-the redhead-theredhead on December 25th, 2002 10:23 am (UTC)
Some entries are to vent, and I could care less if anyone reads them,

*nod* So is the 'getting things out of your head' working?

and other entries are for the sole purpose of making people read it, and hoping to get feedback. Sometimes I don't even bother to read any responces on some entries, and on others I hover over the refresh button desperatly hoping that someone has said something about it.

Aha... So, when you do makes posts wanting feedback, what kind of feedback are you looking for? Does it matter if it comes a complete stranger or someone you know? Or someone who knows you? Is it sort of a shorthand version of calling your friends and asking us?

Okay - I'm cheating here and porting a bit of our discussion from your journal to mine. This doesn't let you off the hook, btw, from talking about the rest of my sociology of LJ questions... *wink*

***********************************************

Anyway... the more I think about it, the more I have to agree with her, that I do have my own mask.

Sweety, it's not a bad thing (or a good thing, for that matter) it just... is. Same for everyone to a greater or lesser degree. Reality, yanno?

So as I keep thinking about it, the more I realize that I've wanted my whole life, at the same time I was building the mask, to be able to take the damned thing off completely for someone.

That's what we all dream of, darlin'. *wistful smile* And it's a good and noble dream - something worth striving for.

</i>While I agree with her completely, I also have to wonder at myself because of it... I know exactly how starved I've been, so how do I manage to be so cautious now? I know the last three years taught me quite a lot. I know that I don't want to hurt anymore. I know that I need to stop leaping into to things head first like I have in the past. I know that I need to be sure that I'm ready before I make the definite, and calculated decision to accept someone again...So knowing all that, why does it seem like the better I do at it, the more I'm not truly acting like myself?</i>

Because it's not the 'myself' we *want* to be, just the 'myself' we need to be. Experience can be a harsh mistress and we are all capable of learning - even me *grin*. Wouldn't it be nice if every relationship were as easy as when you and I talk? But think of how long we've been working on this now.

Which just goes to show that it *is* possible to have interactions and relationships without the masks. *smile* It just takes time and trust.

Therein lies the key - trust. A precious commodity these days I know. You have it in you, don't be afraid to let it out into the sunshine (and yanno, I can hear that you are thinking in your head that applies to me too, but it's a different case, hmmm? Old dog, new tricks...). But it's not just trust for other people, you also have to trust *yourself* too. That covers both trusting your desires but also trusting the cautious parts too. Listen to yourself - from *all* of the points of view.

***********************************************

-the redhead-
Ko'Shall Viperkoshall on January 13th, 2003 04:26 am (UTC)

Yes, quite often, getting things out of my head works quite well. I talk to my journal most of the time the same way I talk to myself most of the time, like I'm someone else, someone that is there in front of me... It helps both to have it written down so I can look at it later, and to just have the impression of getting it really told to someone else, rather then just myself...

As for the wanting feedback... good question. Honestly it depends on the entry. Some I'm definatly calling out to my friends, hoping that they will say something that makes me feel a little bit less alone on this dirtball. Other times, I couldn't care who answers, just so long as someone gives me some other angle to look at my question from. Something other then everything I've alrady run through my head over and over again.

As for my mask not being good or bad... sometimes I don't like reality any more then you do love... lol

I strive for a lot of noble dreams... I just find it hard to have faith sometimes that I have any chance of success...

I'm not sure which is harder sometimes, having faith in myself, or trusting myself. Both represent parts of my life that I don't quite know how to be sure about... it confuses me, in the extreme... I am trying though, to learn how to do both.