“Look at me” vs “Look at that” social media

Day #2 of NaBloPoMo, reflecting on how various social media platforms are used. I once heard a radio commentator describe Pinterest as a “look at that” platform, whereas Facebook is a “look at me” platform.

I’m generally more comfortable writing and posting “look at that” sorts of entries: commentaries on current politics, pointers to interesting artistic sites, and the like. This blog, however, started as a reflection on my own creative processes and how my personal projects interest with my professional interests. Perhaps this is one reason why it’s been so hard to sustain; my personal revelations simply don’t come on a daily schedule, and I’m more reluctant to share the personal than the professional or external finds.

Some blogs are clearly in the “look at that” category. I’ve been following Curmudgucation lately (acerbic and insightful commentary on current trends in education “reform”), where the author manages to crank out at least one good post daily, sometimes more (it helps that he’s a professional English teacher, I suppose). There are more than enough issues in the world to sustain a daily “look at that” blog, but commentary on public affairs hasn’t (yet) been my motivation to write (I suspect this will change when I reach my “you damn kids get off my lawn” dotage, and feel entitled to tell the world how to run itself).

Greta Christina’s blog mixes the personal and political, and is stronger for that. Most of her writing is solidly in “look at that” territory, although she recently posted a series in which she documented her own descent into depression and the actions she took to pull out. But that was a “look at me” with the clear intent of helping others, using her own journey as “that” to be examined.

My own Facebook postings have largely been in the “look at that” category. I was reminded of this when I clicked a button to generate a word cloud of my year’s postings, and only three main words popped out. The app was pulling only my personal status updates, not my posted links to other articles/sites. Clearly I had not been posting many “look at me” status updates. And yet, one of the joys of Facebook is seeing the day to day status updates of friends far away; should I not be returning the favor? Perhaps “look at me” can be driven by needs other than ego gratification, a way of reaching out and touching others, giving back to those who provide those momentary smiles throughout the day.

I feel like every blog posting should have a “lesson learned” or neat little summary. In writing this I’ve come to see the “look at me” posting differently than when I first opened the post. That’s one of the benefits of writing, right? Our writing speaks back to us and leads our brain down paths we might not have found just sitting idly on a sofa lost ion thought. On a related note, I hope this daily exercise improves my non-technical writing fluency; I can see how my word-smithing has suffered for lack of practice.

(Oh, I’ve discovered the the cross-posts from WordPress to Facebook look better with a photo caption. Here, have a cat.)

Till next time,

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