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Divided Presentations and Identities

November 19, 2012

For the past few weeks, I’ve cast spells on myself. Even though this is probably a really scintillating tidbit, I won’t go into detail about what all that entails, but I’ll just say that one such spell was that I would no longer feel the need to be right.

This has produced subtle changes in my life, but one of the most interesting changes (if you have kept up with my [dearth of] blogging here or at Wheat & Tares) has been the almost complete silencing of my blogging muse.

One time, my father said to me that I would approach a time when I wouldn’t feel the need to blog anymore. And somehow, I’ve triggered that change in myself…not in a gradual tapering or fading out…but in a relatively abrupt way.

What the hell is happening to me?

Be careful what you wish for…I guess.

This has made me think about how I present myself on various social media. While my blogging has fallen off, I still write several Facebook posts. What explains this? Well, I tend to post different things on FB than I blog about.

I talk about Mormon issues primarily through blogs like Irresistible (Dis)Grace and Wheat & Tares. On my personal Facebook wall, I rarely, if ever, talk about Mormonism or religion at all.

At first, I did this because I was aware that most of my FB friends did not know and probably did not care about Mormonism at all. However, now, this is not so true. I now share more mutual friends with John Dehlin than I do with any other FB friend other than my brother — so I definitely have a solid base of FB friends who know about Mormonism. But even more, I discovered during the election cycle that many of my non- and never-Mormon friends are still quite interested in talking about Mormonism…and quite honestly, it’s refreshing to talk to someone about the church without feeling obligated to defend the institution or any truth claims. In some ways, though, I regret the end of the election cycle (and with it, the probable end of the “Mormon Moment”) — I won’t be able to have low-stakes, no-pressure conversation with folks about Mormonism.

Despite all of this, I rarely talk about religion on my Facebook wall. Instead, I cycle between talking about work, baking cookies, fencing, and tech gadget news.

That doesn’t mean I never talk about Mormonism on Facebook…rather, I just talk about it in hyper-closed, secret Facebook groups dedicated to Mormon issues. (Which is probably also where I have amassed so many mutual friends with John Dehlin.)

So, that’s Facebook.

I have a twitter account, but my discussions on Twitter are different as well. Since most of my twitter followers are not friends with me on Facebook or associated with Mormon blogs, I have another crowd entirely. Most of my tweets, consequently, end up being about tech news gadgetry — because I gained many of my followers back when I was a webOS fan, and we have all moved to the other mobile OS ecosystems in aftermath of the webOS diaspora.

I have a LinkedIn, but I only use that when I find an article about tax or accounting that I really like.

I even have a Google+, but that tends to just be for sharing the occasional article, and that’s only if I think there are #hashtags that might be well-read. (I probably use Google+ like Twitter without a character limit…)

Because of the difference in topics, I think I can understand why my posting frequency has not been reduced across the board. In general, the places where I used to discuss controversial or very opinionated topics are ones where I’ve reduced my activity rate, but the places where I discuss noncontroversial or trivial topics are ones where I still post with frequency.

So, baking? That’s still in.

Blogging about Mormonism? Well, evidently, that’s on the chopping block.

In a roundabout way, I guess this provides some closure to some sort of intellectual “feud” I’ve been “having” with Bruce N. over at Millennial Star. (I put terms in quotation marks because I’m making this to be way more conflicted than it actually is.) I’ve been an advocate for challenging beliefs, discussing, debating, and tearing down walls and safe zones.

In contrast, Bruce has advocated for people having their own safe zones, and cross talking when desired.

But now…I don’t feel much of a need to challenge. (I mean, I still sometimes get stuck in discussions that I later regret…but I think the change is that I’m starting to recognize sooner and sooner when something will later lead to regret — to the point that sometimes, I can tell before I write a comment, preempting all the heartache to begin with.) This, unfortunately, doesn’t make for great conversation, most of the time.

I am acutely aware of how rude I have been to several people over the years in my more confrontational modes. I regret the friendships that perhaps could have been but which may never come to fruition because of my shortsightedness.

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7 Comments
  1. I have felt a similar shift in my interest in blogging and facebooking

    I seem to have merged the other way

    shifting from text communication with readers

    to a mixed media graphic, more audio visual story telling

    and message conveying mode

    • I sometimes think it would be interesting to move into a more audio/visual method of communication…but I feel it would be time-consuming for me, because I’d want to make everything look or sound just right.

      • Well, that’s partly why I create my posts on facebook

        I mix the media, the individual messages into either a garden path to a point

        or an emotional journey

        and it makes a difference if you read from the bottom to the top, which is how I create the images or from the top to bottom, how people encounter it

  2. Reblogged this on Nina's Garden and commented:
    I wish I had thought to reblog because the comment

    does belong here too.

    oh well

    readers will just have to follow the link back

    to one of my long time following blogs
    I think this was one of the first blogs that I followed actually

  3. In another life, (during my previous marriage) I had a Facebook account because my husband did. I ended up with tons of “friends” that I barely knew and had almost nothing in common with, or were family members I talk to anyway.

    I closed my account when we separated. I hadn’t been using it for months anyway, and never really understood all the games, etc. all the updates drove me crazy, and when I finally got rid of all the game status things, there wasn’t anything more interesting in the “just had a fabulous brownie and mocha” feed.

    For me, leaving that and focusing on blogging has been my shift, although I may create a Facebook account for my blog, since I get more than one email a week asking what it is. Lol. The best thinking about blogging for me, right now, is that I can have posts scheduled ahead of time so that when I know I will have a test or procedure done that will pull me out of action, they can post poetry or shooter thoughts that are not immediately topical, but still part of my blog mix.

    I understand not wanting to blog as much, if much of it has been conflict driven. What do you think you will write about at Wheat and Tares? Or is that forum too conflict driven for this space in your life? I ask because I have another friend who is having a hard time refunding get footing in blogging now that the election is over, and most of her blogging for the last year has had a political subtext. She is trying to decide whether to make an abrupt change, or start another blog that she writes on most, and then post a few times a month on her current blog. I haven’t had a blog shift in that way, so I often feel at a loss when she asks my advice.

    I do hope that you keep blogging occasionally. I always enjoy seeing a new post emailed, giving me something new to contemplate from an entirely different angle. :-)

  4. Julia,

    although I know that I am free to write on basically any topic I want on W&T, I feel somewhat sensitive to writing stuff that readers want to read (and comment on)…so I still kinda feel bad if I write something on W&T, and there are almost no comments.

    Unfortunately, I think I have an idea of the kind of posts that generate a lot of comments, and I’m not as interested in writing about those.

    I guess I’ll be writing here randomly and inconsistently…

  5. Andrew, I will say that we’ve missed your posts, and I’ve been wondering where you’ve been. I guess I just write what is interesting to me. If it is controversial, so be it, but if it is not and generates few comments, well, it is still interesting to me. I think it is good to have a mix of controversial and not, because if I only cared about writing controversy, I’d get burned out.

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