To Get Personal or Not?

As a rather introverted person, I often share very little of my personality with those people who I do not know well. This isn’t necessarily intended – I’m simply tend to be very quiet. I don’t often talk to people unless they talk to me first (not because I think this is right, just because). In junior high school, I was voted “most quiet” and only escaped that title in high school when the powers that be decided they would prefer to have more innovative “most likely to” lists (a fact for which I will forever be grateful). However, in one class during my senior year, the teacher had everyone pick another student’s name out of a hat and write a synopsis of that person’s life for the next 10 years. The person who picked my name wrote a rather hysterical piece about “my quiet existence.” It was predicted that I would marry a mute and due to the lack of verbal conversation eventually stop speaking altogether. Fortunately, despite my quiet nature, I have a great sense of humor – and probably found this synopsis funnier than anyone else. I am happy to say that I did not marry a mute (Don’t many people marry opposites? This is also partly because I don’t often talk to quiet people) and actually do enjoy talking to people - just not in crowds. The point of this, is that when trying something new (like blogging), I am often unsure and tentative. It usually takes time for me to feel comfortable enough to open up about myself or to participate. This is one reason why I have added very little of a personal nature to this blog.

However, I have to say that some of my favorite blogs have a great deal of personal information that makes one feel as if they are getting a glimpse of the person behind the written word. Much of this introspection was prompted by a really nice post by Mark Lindner at . . .the thoughts are broken . . . who lets a great deal of himself shine through in his blog. I really identified with his comment that “This whole web thing is so very odd.” It seems very odd that one can create a web presence and people actually do read it. Much like Mark, I spend time looking at feed stats and web stats and often wonder about those who read my blog. Given that I initially created this blog as a way to document my progress through graduate school with content in which only I would be interested – and possibly my professors or advisors since I plan to use this as the base for my eportfolio – I am often amazed that there are people who do visit the site. I generally don’t obsess about it – but mostly because I don’t let myself think about it. But again, “This whole web thing is so very odd.”

Anyway, Mark (since you asked), I find your blog very fascinating and enjoyable. You often have a different perspective on topics than I do, but I am a firm believer that this is how we learn, expand our own knowledge base and gain the confidence to form our own beliefs. I don’t often read your posts about the music you are listening to or the movies you have seen, but have come to understand that these are important parts of your life. Don’t change a thing!

The other post of a personal nature that I really enjoyed is Meredith Farkas’ post You may not be the person you think you are from Information Wants to Be Free. The past couple of years have been (probably just the start) of a journey of self discovery for me. Returning to school has been part of this whole process where I have been trying to challenge the “safe boundaries” that I have set for myself throughout the years. Meredith put it better by asking what if you aren’t the person you think you are. While my story is of course different than Meredith’s (I have always been very happy with the person I am), I took comfort in her story. Despite being happy with the person I am, life throws curve balls at incovenient times that can make one doubt one’s selve. So, we have to throw some of our own curve balls back at life – and I think that trying to look at ourselves in different lights may be part of this. Thanks Meredith!!!!!

Ultimately, these two posts made me realize that the addition of personal information helps to add tremendously to one’s blog. Without a doubt, my favorite blogs contain a great deal of personal reflection. I also think the personal reflections are an important part of my journey through graduate school – and through life. Sometime, I will share the story of why my biggest fear in life is blue toilet paper (yes, it really is!).

Update: Comments on this post over at Life as I Know It via Blogger.

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