Divided Presentations and Identities
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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