03 March, 2010

On Secrets, or, Look! Words Again!

Please note, it didn't take that long for me to return to the medium with which I am the most comfortable. Which is writing, in case that wasn't clear. However, sharing links of other people's writing is another one of my talents, as you can see below.

Here is what I have been thinking about lately. It has always cracked me up a little bit how alarmist humans can be about new technologies. Every time we come up with a new medium of self-expression, someone out there will insist that THIS will be the downfall of educated communication, that it will overload the human brain to the point of non-functioning. They said that Instant Messaging would ruin our ability to spell (LOL!), they said that the Internet would make us all hyper-reliant on Google, eventually making any and all information retention impossible. I scoff at this. We all scoff at this. Folks in the Middle Ages worried that the printing press would make us stupid, and I think we can all agree that its invention arguably made us all smarter. Do I say this because I love books? I really do love books.

Perhaps it is because of this article in the most recent Ensign that I am pondering this. I agree with what the article says about personal revelation, for the record. I just don't think technology should be solely to blame for that fact that lots of people don't know how to listen anymore. Another reason why this is on my mind, perhaps, is this article which prematurely mourns the fact that as we transition from bound books to electronic books such as found on the Kindle and iPad (worst product name ever!!!!!) we will lose the ability to glance into someone's heart and soul by noting the books on their bookshelves. I do enjoy doing that, but I'm sure we will find different ways to make voyeuristic assumptions about people as times change, so never fear.

This has led me to ponder on the idea of secrets. I like the fact that people can look on my bookshelves and learn quite a bit about me, but only in certain sections of my shelves. I have the requisite classics and poetry books, a lot of books about social justice, art, vegetarianism, politics, etc. Which is all well and good. However, I also have embarrassing YA novels from my teen years and an alarming collection of baby name books. I keep the latter in a box underneath my bed, where normal people hide porn.

That was a secret, and yet I just shared it with the Internet! Here is one of the strangest things about living in the times that we do, in my opinion: fewer secrets. I was talking to the Pearce sisters (whom I love and adore, BTW) about this the other night: because of my personality and the nature of the friendships I usually have (I tend to have several extremely close friends and a wider circle of much more minor acquaintances) I don't think there is anything in my life, any thought or neurosis or experience, that I haven't shared with at least one person, no matter how awkward or humiliating. I think this is healthy, for the record, but also sort of strange. Because of social networking, blogging, texting, email, gchat, et al. if I have something to share, it is highly likely that I will share it somewhere.

What, then, if I have something to get off my chest that I don't want to (or am afraid to) share with anyone? The options are limited: protected file on computer. Old fashioned diary with lock (which are, incidentally, dumbfoundingly easy to pick). Anonymous website, this being one of my favorites, although I don't think I am impish enough to write anything similar. Or you can send a postcard into this ongoing project. Other than that, you got nothing. Oddly enough though, part of me feels that sharing a secret in a forum where I know it will never be connected with me feels like it still wouldn't get it off my chest. Why is that, do you think?

Did you only finish reading this blog entry because you thought I was going to share my secret at the very end? Well, I'm not. Sucker.


Leah said...

Woo hoo!! Shout outs!! I love it (and you)! :D

theFinn said...

That postcard site makes me feel so sad because I just want to reach out and help.

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