Yes, It's Perception - 11.20.00|
I know I've written a lot about this site and this section and the motivations behind it all, but there always seems to be yet another angle to explore. Over the course of the past couple months, and especially within the last week, a couple things have kept resurfacing that I'm now going to try to talk about in my usual manner (which basically means I'll throw some ideas out, but may not end up resolving anything in the end).
This one thing that's been setting itself up in my head over and over again is just how much of myself I put on my site and what the difference is between me in real life and me on my site is. This question came up in one of the Q&A Session pieces that I wrote some time ago, and I answered the question in a sentence or so. I was trying to be concise, but it was also that I just didn't think about it all that much. In that particular piece, I mentioned that I thought I did a pretty good job of representing how I am in real life through the writing on my site, but I didn't really break it down all that much.
More specifically, I think that I'm a semi-cynical person in real life, but I also go through periods where I have a lot of faith in people in general and it reflects directly in my mood. Not only that, but I'm moody in general. I can be having a great day and hear a terribly depressing song (usually that I decided to play) and my day will sometimes change around simply because of 3 minutes of minor chords. Likewise, I think that all these things manage to show themselves in different pieces that I've written. Sometimes when I sit down and write a piece (or daily entry), I'll be overflowing with happiness and that will show on the site. Other times, I'll be in a moping mood (admittingly this happens more often) when my hands hit the keyboard and that will come through loud and clear as well.
For the most part, the above couple paragraphs don't even really matter once I've put the information out there. I'm not saying that to be mean or anything else, but mainly because I simply will never meet a lot of the people that read what I've written on my site. They know me through my writing (and a few pictures) alone, and that's basically what they have to go on in judging what kind of a person I am. Granted, I hope to come across in a way that's similar to my own personality, but what individual readers take from my words is up to them as much as it is me. No matter what how much I write, or how well I phrase things, it's still going to be hard for someone on the outside to know me as well as someone Hopefully, it's something that illicits some sort of response (happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, etc), but again I can't be sure what anyone will take from what I've written.
The one thing that makes me think that I'm doing at least a decent job with the above is that I have friends whom I know personally that read the site as well. While sometimes they're frustrated by things that I reveal within it (instead of coming and discussing my feelings with them personally), most of the comments I've gotten from those who have read different things are that my writing (and everything else) does a good job at capturing who I am in real life.
One thing that I mentioned in a rant (in which I pretty much completely tore myself apart) awhile ago is that one thing I've thought about a lot in the construction of the site is just how much information about myself I should be putting within it. While it technically is a personal site and that sort of information is something that seems natural, I also sometimes question how just how much of myself I should include. With the addition of a webcam last week to the site, it got me thinking about things even more.
I know that when I go to sites and read different things on them, I often times want to find out more about the person behind them. If I read a piece that I really agree with, I tend to see if I can hunt down information on them within their site, whether it be a picture, some bio information, or all of the above and more. It's intriguing to me and if I had to answer the question of why I do some of the things that I do with the site, that would be my answer behind it. If someone reads something that they identify with (or even sees a picture that they enjoy for that matter), then they can search out a little information on me and even email me if so inclined. The communication is what it's all about anyway.
I guess that one of my concerns is that I'm coming across as either arrogant or self-absorbed on the site. It's a risk that nearly everyone with a personal site runs, and while there are some people who revel in it, I'd like to hope that I don't come across that way. By it's very definition, having a personal site is sort of egotistical. Not only is it an assumption that people out there want to hear what you have to say about things, see your face, or learn about you. Again, I'm not trying to be too cynical, but only see the other side of it as well.
Anyway, the two sections of the site that I'm most happy with don't really have much of anything to do with me (The Photo Trust Project and Lesion Legion), and that's because there are other people involved. Granted, there are things that I've created that I'm proud of, but if I were able to get one story submission a week and the cameras moving, I'd be even more happy.