Who do we write for? Who do you imagine when you type the words in the glowing white box of your choice?
Maybe it’s a side-effect of my own checkered past in the theatre, but I spend a lot of time wondering about them, out there in the darkness. In all my art [ARTZ tm] there’s a need for the receiver, a tacit covenant with the other end of the line. I cannot transmit into a vacuum, I have to know that someone, somewhere is tuning in – and like many monkey-brains I need immediate verification of that fact. The few times I’ve tried some mediums without that component I’ve felt like my feet are nailed to the floor.
I worked for a radio station for a brief stint, back in college. Even got a few shifts here and there on the microphone – but it made my flesh crawl. I knew intellectually that people were listening, but me – alone – in a booth, cracking jokes to the empty air is my idea of purgatory. Something about that strange Limbo where I knew there was an audience, but I could neither see nor verify them drove me batty. Once again, a mutation derived from the stage – if you land a joke and nobody laughs – -did you really land it? Without that feedback loop, I feel myself diminish, crawling ever inward to my own navel as THE FIRES OF UTTER DISDAIN CONSUME MY FRAIL PSYCHE.
Which brings me to Twitter. I’ve been on there since January, in fits and spurts. I keep jumping out there on the dance floor, but then become immediately self-conscious – the death of rhythm. I keep asking Who am I talking to? What is the purpose of this space? Who is the audience? How does speaking hear differ from other spaces? What do I gain by speaking here?
So, sure, I’m over-analyzing, but that’s what you get, son. It’s clear that most people use it for riffing – humor noodles tossed against the uncaring internet wall. And some people use it as a pressure valve, an easy space to vent their frustrations. And for some it’s a stream-of-consciousness companion, recording the banal and profound events of their lives as a record of validity. Or some strange combination of all three. Or the people that just PIMP THAT SHIT.
When I want to say funny thing, I pull up Twitter. But where do I go when I have some serious feels? Here? Eh, I know I’ve emoted plenty here, but it feels unguarded. I could ramble on my Twitter – but then, even more of a ‘no audience’ vibe. But should I really need an audience when I’m talking about private matters, or just want to spill out into text?
When I want to ‘unpack my heart with words’, why don’t I just jam it out onto Twitter or WordPress or Tumbler or shudder Facebook?
Because I need to feel the audience out there, shifting in their seats – but I don’t trust them.
Here’s where I would make a joke about Google+…but why mock the lumbering undead as they unquietly writhe in the shadows?