I’ve been thinking this week that much of what we ‘share’ about ourselves via social media actually reveals very little about us. Just occasionally one glimpses signs of a change in someone’s life or events of significance such as stress, illness, separation or bereavement. Mostly, though, these glimpses are unwritten and revealed more by a change of tone or an absence. Much of what is written is ironic and disengaged and people tend to distance themselves from their misfortunes.
To some extent many of us (myself included) play a part on Twitter and Facebook etc. We show-off or only we show some perspectives on our lives. I was guilty of this when I first joined Twitter under my account @BestofTimes and, soon after, created his less positive alter ego @WorstofTimes to represent different aspects of my life.
The idea that it’s better to present all the perspectives of one's life together is now new. Aristotle’s Poetics, written around 335 BC says:
“Character is that which reveals moral purpose, showing what kind of things a man chooses or avoids. Speeches, therefore, which do not make this manifest, or in which the speaker does not choose or avoid anything whatever, are not expressive of character.”
One of the things that always struck me from looking at paintings was how some modern art changed portraits from two dimensional views of the sitter to suddenly being able to study different views of the subject at the same time. Look at Picasso’s 1937 painting Weeping Woman as an example.
When I moved this blog over from tumblr I was determined I was going to write from a more personal perspective. Less writing about software, apps and things and more about those things that really interest me — family, books, photography etc. I should really extend this idea and make it a more general guiding principal. I don’t think I’ll suddenly starting writing posts on app.net about how exasperating my kids are, worries about work or health problems but I should perhaps try to show a more complete view of my world.