In Which How Is Tumblr Affecting My Online Presence?

Firstly, let’s get this out of the way: I hate when people talk about their “an online presence,” while fully admitting that I have and try to cultivate an online presence.

Now, that said: I have had an online blog in one form or another for about 10 years now. None of the blogs I’ve kept over time on eight different sites have had many readers, or much of any kind of influence outside my extended circle of friends. When I hear from someone I don’t personally know that they liked something I’ve written, I’m always shocked that they found my blog at all. But I’ve kept a blog because it’s important to me; writing in my various past blogs has helped me become a better writer and thinker, and even though I’ve left certain sites to start new projects at other sites, I’ve never thought about just giving up for good. I enjoy having an online voice, and it’s something I take kind of seriously.

The first couple blogs I had, when I was a high schooler and then in my early college years, are almost unbearable for me to read. Both the writing and thought process seems so immature, and it embarrasses me to think that I used to write that way. But aren’t all people that age immature and embarrassing to their later selves? Probably. As I’ve gotten older I feel like my writing voice has matured quite a bit, mirroring my own maturity as a person, and whenever I felt like I’d changed into someone who couldn’t write in my current blog anymore, I’d change to a new site, a new format of portraying myself to my friends and strangers online.

I left my WordPress blog a few months ago, both because I found myself not able to write there anymore and felt like I wasn’t getting enough readers there and probably needed more validation in form of reader numbers. My writing there was almost always serious, short essays about what I was doing or thinking, and because it was always the kind of writing I had to think about I wrote there less and less. I changed to Tumblr because of a couple friends who were already on here, and I thought the ability to just follow and reblog things instantly might jolt me into being able to write serious entries again, something I was really lacking at my WordPress site. And I think, so far, it’s done just that. I’ve been able to do more writing here as well as follow and reblog things I think are interesting and I want my friends to notice too.

But I wonder how that’s affecting the online voice I’ve cultivated over the years. I’m very much in favor of being totally honest and open online. I don’t care much about privacy and I’ll be open with any question or issue people bring to me. You can find my phone number, two email addresses, this blog address and my website, and lots of other info about me on Facebook. As far as I know anyone can look at all my pictures and information there whether they’re my friend or not. I just don’t feel like I have anything to hide, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of being honest in my blogging. But at the same time, I made conscious efforts to portray myself as a certain kind of person, through my writing and the things I let people see online. I was trying to be myself, but a definitely curated version of me. Tumblr, though, lets me be a little more instantaneous and a little less careful with my online persona. I can reblog anything that catches my eye without really thinking about whether or not I want people to know that it caught my eye, and there are some things that later on I wonder if I should have reblogged it. But I’ve never gone back and deleted anything, and I hopefully never will, because I’m finding that it’s letting me be more honest and open than I was before; it’s sort of forcing me to be that way, and I’m learning that I don’t mind. You can all see what other Tumblrs I follow and infer whatever information you want from that, whether it’s one that’s just pictures of girls with tattoos or a men’s style blog or Newsweek (I follow and enjoy all three). Having a blog on this site lets me be even more honest than I had been before, and I think that’s a good thing.

Okay, that’s enough. Reggie Watts is on Conan so time to pay attention to that.

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