Life is the realest it’s ever been for me right now, and to be honest – it’s very overwhelming. More so because I know my own overwhelm-ment is overwhelming my partner, who I sometimes forget has the capacity to feel vulnerable.
But I devote enough of the hours in my day, at least right now, to what on earth I’m going to do over the summer to ensure that a) I get a job and b) I stay with my boyfriend, that it probably wouldn’t be very healthy nor dignified of me to splurge it out onto the internet. No matter how few readers this reaches.
Instead, on my numerous daily scrawls through LinkedIn, my constant stalking of industry contacts and past colleagues (which sounds odd, considering I don’t really think of myself as someone who has ever properly held down a real job yet) I’ve noticed a phenomenon that makes me a little bit sad.
This is, when people use their blogs and social media presences purely for industry purposes. Their blogs are no ‘blogs’ at all, but boring accounts of exciting developments within their particular field of industry (or service, or whatever). Their tweets all link to articles on LinkedIn, or other corporate sites, with listicles upon listicles upon listicles. Sometimes they link to what their fellow practitioners have said, and there is never anything short of lavishly unsubstantial praise for these writers.
— Karen McGrane (@karenmcgrane) February 5, 2015
— Greg Wasowski (@gregwasowski) May 16, 2015
They just don’t stop coming!!
Then you get instances like this:
— G. David Dodd (@gdaviddodd) May 15, 2015
— G. David Dodd (@gdaviddodd) May 16, 2015
I’m against it because I think blogs, social media, and digital platforms as integral to our identities are meant to be used for ourselves. And often, we are more than what we do. I think it should be about the things that really matter to us, about our hardships – no matter how domestic or trivial they seem – and about our bouts of euphoria. It should be the purest form of our self-identity, and just talking about how great the latest project management or marketing tool is just seems to corrupt that with its clear ingenuity and artificiality.
If you don’t talk about this shit to your friends who aren’t from work, then you shouldn’t talk about this shit to the mysterious, collective body of friends and strangers that is the Internet. It adds nothing to the democracy of that odd but extremely important part of society that manifests itself online.
Sometimes there are some people who are completely consumed by their work – and often the nature of their work requires such intense passion and love for it to be sustainable. Actors and actresses, politicians, journalists, doctors…
But I seriously doubt that everybody is like that. Many of my colleagues were people who were passionate about the most domestic of things: they took me to Chinatown, they loved their bands and their music and their pop culture. And yet, my only link to them nowadays is this quagmire of personal public relations material. It is fatiguing.
Facebook is different, because it’s made itself out to be such a personal platform – but why should blogs or Twitter be treated any differently?
I realise completely that people can do whatever they like with this stuff. I realise that I am probably simplifying the situation, or perhaps it’s because I haven’t quite yet gotten to the stage where doing such things have reaped massive benefits.
Perhaps it’s the liberal bias in me, perhaps it’s the journalism student who’s been groomed to dislike any sort of public relations – especially not that of a real person that I personally know. I believe that blogs and social media should be your space to freely express yourself and to talk about the things that mean most to you.
My criticisms sound as though they are directed at the people themselves, but maybe I should be looking elsewhere. Maybe it’s our unrelentingly capitalist, go hard or go home attitude towards our work, that all-consuming drive to achieve, and be successful. Sex gets thrown into that equation somewhere, or so a lot of TV shows and films tell me nowadays. Maybe when these people are blogging and tweeting and posting about work, they really mean every word they say, and it really is the thing that they would most like to talk about the most.
I have no body of scientific literature to support me – but I just don’t think everyone has been reduced to that level of (non)humanity just yet.
In short, if your blog or Twitter handle or whatever currently exists solely to make yourself look good to prospective employers, think again. I’d much rather get to know you via a deeper articulation of your thoughts rather than just a templated status update. And I’m sure any employer who really values you for the person you are would too.