May 3rd, 2010

Semiformalishmaybe

Campfyre

The smell of burning wood reminds me of when I was much younger and did Boy Sprout things.

The smell of burning ideas reminds me of when I was slightly less younger and argued a lot about politics and technical things.

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I am somewhat grumpy today because a ceiling tile in my office was flooded by an air conditioner leading it to disintegrate, fall to the floor (and stain the door) and fungusize the carpet. Yay. Tried working elsewhere in the building but wireless reception is spotty. Oh well, downside of a nasty fungus smell, upside of easy access to my tea and the comfortable office chair. Fair trade, I think. Whenever I leave CMU, I wonder if it's even slightly workable to take my office chair with me.

I sometimes wonder how people pick the face they're to show the world through their blog - most of us differ a bit depending on whom we're with - the progression from someone being a generic member of whatever clique they're in into being a semi or fully specific person causes us to adapt ourselves a bit to conform to sensibilities, dreams, life stories of the other. The internet as a whole is different (unless we restrict our posts to a few people and actually treat that audience similarly to how we would treat those people as a group). What kind of identity do we paint onto the people (if any) who read us, and if we have indicators of who actually *does* read us among the people who might, how does that further shape things? I think at times present I write about 30% for myself, 20% for specific other people, 10% for people who might read, and probably about 40% as if I were on a stage talking to some imagined public. Thanks to browser crumbs and security flaws in livejournal, I know roughly who's watching, when they do so, from where they do so (oh hay someone has travelled back home for some reason), and if they use 「friend groups」 to read, if they've classified me as a loser (thanks!), someone to read, or likewise. It's that 40% (rather than the 20 or 10) that's interesting - people I don't know, possibly in the future digging up dirt or maybe something else. Do we all imagine the same crowd? Do we need the crowd? I see systemic differences in the length, topics, and tone of my posts when I was dating from when I'm single, likewise when I was immersed in various crowds - the posts evolved to lessen the topics where I had intellectual release on those in conversations with significant other or friends (at some periods in my life they became either very short or very infrequent). Is the public a way to patch cracks in our social circles? (and what does this say about comics, who are as notorious as actors in having broken or complicated personal lives?) Unidirectional (or mostly unidirectional) non-biological communication is a funny thing, probably something where neurosis is to be expected.

I imagine that large audiences are almost as bad as the internet in general for satisfying whatever urges lead to broadcast social communications - we're pushing squarely against whatever ev-psych mechanism exist to keep us safe in packs that's presumably using social ties as the lasso to pull is back in. Perhaps it's healthy as a supplement, but it's probably unhealthy as the only food we eat. Rather akin to certain other areas where biology's hand dictates certain behaviour.