Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

14 January 2011

Scowling in the Dark: The Other Side of Blogging

"“I wanted to bring their intimate worlds to the outside public.”
-Photographer Gabriela Herman to Wired in interview, "Bloggers"

I put this on my out of laziness, but afterward I felt that itchy and irritating blogger's "responsibility" to write it up because the topic is so close to me.

It's hard to distill the weird isolation that comes with being a blogger. Often you find yourself fixed to the screen in complete obscurity, alone or trying not to wake a loved one. And even if the world's lit up all around you, at some conference you're liveblogging or whatever, you remain tangibly distant and lost to others, at least in the physical sense. There's a snowglobe around you.

That feeling is ironically linked to a digital connectedness to which you don't just feel privy, but obligated. Sometimes what's happening on-screen is so much bigger than your immediate proximity: you're breaking news, paring out a conviction, parlaying in an impassioned series of tweets. And for those people, the people you're invisibly tied to, you're alive and present and real. This is your tribe.

And it consumes everything: you hold your pee, put off getting dressed, skip lunch, ignore the nagging grip of sleep. If there's food in the house you don't even have to leave home. Why? For recreational activity, you can torrent a film and then tweet it.

Then there are those moments late at night when you really do laugh out loud and the sound of your own voice startles you. It's like interrupting a telepathic conversation with a crass unwelcome din. Then you look up, suspension of disbelief momentarily broken, and realise you're alone and engaging with nobody.

(And that the neighbours must think you're insane.)

I looked at these photos, the expressions on these people's faces lit by the familiar glow of the snowglobe, and felt a pang: this is my life and has been for the last 10 years. The first blog I wrote, way back in the early days of uni, I remember that my hands shook. It felt important.

And even if the easy cash-in days of blogging are done, for me it's still important. I need to do this, and the other hardcore bloggers - jaded personalities that have been at it forever, who've resigned themselves to broke but rest present and accounted for - have to do it too. It's part of what unites us, like smokers sharing a guilty but mutinous light.


Howie-Shizzle said...

What is a blog? And where do I find one?

I also picture you with your laptop and wifi on the banks of the Seine sipping coffee typing away with trees and flowers gently blowing in the wind.

Angela Natividad said...

I wish I could take my wifi there...

Anonymous said...

Poor people, sad pictures.