How much of what I write here represents me? How much of it does it really say something about who I am?
I imagine that you, the one reading these words right now, are also posting more or less regularly on your blog. I assume that your posts are meant to convey something meaningful to you. Something that you think is worth sharing. If that is so, then you are probably confronted with the same questions.
In fact, as we all know from our own experience, we end up reading, following, or liking other posts for reasons that may have little to do with the author’s original intent. It may be a subject we’re temporarily or accidentally interested in. We may stumble upon a formulation or a photo that touches us for reasons largely independent of the blog post’s intended message. We may feel particularly generous with our likes and comments because we have a good day. Or maybe because it’s our self-assigned networking time with other bloggers.
We like to think that the external validation of our writing or photography is a validation of what’s inside us, of the things that make sense to us. However, if we are to judge based on how we read other blogs, we need to recognize that often it has more to do with the reader than the author. It has to do with the reader’s bubble of immediate interests, perceptions, and emotions.
We can only do so much to express what we think is worth expressing. We can work on our style. We can make sure what we share is clear, coherent, and to the point. But we cannot control how others perceive what we share precisely because we all react from within our own self-narrative.
The point is not that we’re all subjective, and there is no possible point of connection between our worlds. There is communication, but it is always partial and mediated by our context and by our mental scripts and defaults. With our posts, we are not engaging a dispassionate and detached audience, but persons with interests, doubts, triggers, biases, and emotions, just like ourselves.
For me, this has two important consequences:
(1) There’s no point in not being authentic. This is the part that we can control, this is what we can work on. For me, any form of strategic positioning based on others’ preferences or likes is not only a failure of authenticity but, in the long run, is counter-productive (because you cannot sustain something that you are not personally invested in).
(2) There’s no point in taking ourselves too seriously. At the end of the day, our cherished words, photos, or any other forms of expression are just a brief pop-up on the screen of the world. This is not a competition and we don’t need to prove anything.