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[personal profile] phetish
I have tried to fit in on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Posterous, Blogspot, Wordpress, and other seedy corners of the social internet where you are promised a soul in exchange for your email address.
Livejournal is the only perfect balance of community and anonymity. Beyond the litany of detestable elements within Facebook, I most loathed that the loss of anonymity and the ease of posting meant everybody - grandma, classmates, garbageman - was on it and linked to you. People stopped being honest and started being polite, and we lost all the intimacy. Without it, without people with whom to resonate, we lost ourselves.

Do you understand that? I've never heard another person say it. We knew ourselves because we knew others. We mirrored each other, giving everything of ourselves as others gave everything. We discovered ourselves as a consequence of a desire to know and love others. We loved so deeply that it made us honest with ourselves in a way that self-love, that ego, that pride could never hope to touch. If there is one lesson that Livejournal taught the world, let that be it. In a world beleaguered by depression and loneliness as its most common mental ailments, why is it that we must fight to keep the lights on in this magical place?

Having reached a new pinnacle in social networking, the absence of communal intimacy was as Hell, was as the Shadowlands beyond the reach of Love.
We were desperate, so we settled. For Facebook. For Tumblr. For mimicry of what we lost.
Like dating someone that you find attractive because they look like your ex.
As sweetly familiar as that peach tastes, it also makes you feel a little sick.

I know it isn't just me choking on the meat of this strange fruit.
I feel like the weird exotic pet in a world of housecats. Nobody else seems to think we should be outside. Everybody's on Facebook. But I remember when we were free and we felt alive.

I remember you.
You did not write about cats and sandwiches.
You wrote about your dreams, your passions, your soul, your fears, your adventures. You wrote your story. You gave yourself to me and I to you.
Now, you are more naked than ever and caged in a box of glass, with your real name, your real family, your real address, coworkers, partners...everyone has you on stage like a circus animal.
You are stark naked under a blinding light, on display in the Facebook museum.
But you are mute. Deaf. Blind. You express nothing. You quietly hum little tunes, safe little memories which will either not be recognized or will go unpunished.

I don't care about your grandmother or how racist she is. I never wanted to know.
I remember you when you were wild. I loved it when you sang. You have a voice like no other voice in the world.

What did they promise? Community? The same feelings we used to have?
For all the money in advertising, the competing sites do not have souls to sell. All you get is a knock-off that fits like a cheap suit.
You do not get intimacy. You do not get deep connections. You do not discover yourself.
You get a network of people who are obligated to follow you as you are obligated to follow them.
Every milquetoast jackass you wish you could forget and their grandmother is going to piss aggressively willful ignorance and grammatical sodomy all over your monitor all day long while you are strapped to a chair and forced to endure it. Like high school all over again.

But it is community. It is a huge community. That is what you wanted, is it not?
"Isn't that what you wished for?" asks the Djinn.
No, it is not. Not at all.
You know it. They know it. It is an exploitation of the fine print, a reimagining of a desire that only vaguely resembles the original in the complete absence of the original.

What I love most about anonymity is that doesn't matter who you are. It matters what you do.
This is to say what you do matters. Imagine the power and consequence of relevance.
There is a consequential responsibility in journalism absent from social media where we are identified.
Mary Jane can spout bullshit ad nauseum because her boyfriend and his friends and her sorority will always be there, even if she posts cat pictures every hour on the hour from today until kingdom come.
But Rubyone? Nobody will follow Rubyone unless they like what she posts, and if she posts cat pictures every hour on the hour, she will die young and alone.

It makes us better writers. It makes us care about what we put out there.

All right. Enough melodrama. Let's get back to the funny stories. I'm glad we are home.
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