Yes, it's true. Particularly social networking. At times, logging into this online world puts me in a fit of panic. I freeze up when I go to blog or even tweet. It feels like a ticking time bomb. Will this be the day that the internet turns against me?
It didn't used to be this way. When I first started blogging, no one actually read my blog and I felt like I had the freedom to say what I felt like saying. For better or worse, one of my blog povs has always been honesty. While I also believe in being positive and not giving up, I certainly don't sugar coat my experiences. I tell you when it's hard. I tell you when I'm happy and what has been fulfilling about my journey.
But lately I find myself not wanting to be honest, not wanting to put myself out there. I want to hole up where it's safe.
Don't get me wrong, social networking can be an amazing thing. I have certainly benefitted from it. I've learned so much, met so many wonderful people, and grown as a writer because of this blog. I'm not unaware of what a blessing this experience has been, or the fact that being online has, overall, a positive impact on my writing "career."
It's just that lately, it feels like the dark side of the internet rears its head more often. The same benefits that allow us to spread good news are often being used to spread, well, gossip and other not-so-nice things. It seems like every time a person says one thing a group doesn't agree with, they pounce on them like a pack of vindictive cheerleaders. They launch massive twitter attacks and mocking sessions, they blog about their stupidity, they effectively lock the person in the stocks and throw rotten food at them. Because an example must be set, as a warning to anyone else who dares to say what they think.
Yes, I know that sounds harsh. It is harsh, but it also feels that way to me, and it scares the hell out of me.
And I am not saying I am clean on this matter. I have participated. I am not proud of it. In fact, I always regret it. It's so easy to fall into it without even noticing. The internet is crazy like that. How quickly we can forget that we were once ignorant of this business, this online community, and the etiquette that comes with it.
So here I am being honest about it, wondering if this will be the post that ruins me. Or will it be the next? How many more honest posts can I risk before I'm the one in the stocks, my face dripping with rancid tomato juice? I don't know, and lately I don't want to take the chance to find out. I'm starting to understand why authors keep a safe distance on their blogs.
This probably isn't a problem when your schtick isn't honesty, but it is a serious issue for me. The internet has changed so much since I started blogging. I have changed. My position has changed. I am still trying to figure out how to behave at this point, and I pray that people will be forgiving and understanding. I hope we can all give others the benefit of the doubt.