“Stalking is caring enough about someone to learn things about them they won’t tell you themselves.”
There’s not much about me you can’t find on the internet. If it’s electronic, it exists. As for what I put out there on purpose, that’s trickier. I love reading about other people’s personal lives – what their family are up to, what they eat, that weird dream they keep having, what they’re struggling with (or without). But something still stops me doing it myself. Super-weird, because I’m a writer. Bits and pieces of me get out whether I’m doing it consciously or not.
I guess I feel like the difference is that if you read my books, you’ve done it on purpose. You’ve taken them out of the library. You’ve borrowed them, bought them – you are the reader and I am the writer. We’re in a relationship. We have an agreement. I agree to share myself through words, and (on some level) you have committed to being open to understanding me.
In that way, the internet feels a bit Tinder-y. There’s no financial committment, no library love, just a quick Google, a click here or there, and you get in to someone’s most personal places. You get to see them vulnerable, exposed, and with a blog? The writer might not even know the reader was there.
Ooh, but isn’t that the same with books? I don’t know or control who buys or borrows my books. I have no idea who reads them. If you don’t tell me, I don’t know. And there’s heeeeaps of stuff in my books I wouldn’t blog. Ha. Interesting. Better stick with my more concrete considerations…
For kids growing up in the information age, their sonogram will be as easy to find as their CV. I reckon we’re walking into a future where people miss out on jobs or relationships because of things their parents posted online when they were kids. (But then again, if your kid misses out on a job because their judgey new employer thinks not being toilet trained until eight* means they’re a slow learner, they can shove it, right?)
Or of course, I could be thinking too hard. (I’m known for that.) Maybe all this information makes us more loving, less judgey. You always hear that you should tell your story because it could inspire one person. That feels like the truth to me. And no, just because it’s the truth it doesn’t mean it’s good or nice, but it doesn’t make it less important either.
So, keep it up, truth tellers. My life is better for reading your stories – whether you know it or not.
*Not that there’s anything wrong with that.**
** And no, that’s not me.***
*** Not that it would matter if it was.****