Monday, 15 June 2009

Digital trap

I think I've tried to write this down before but I've not really been able to really find the right words until I could think up a snappier title for the post and maybe get my thoughts lined up in some order.

One the problems with having online representations of my life is that it makes it harder to express what I'm really feeling both here and in real life. A single pithy status update won't convey all the different things I'm going through. It's almost like I need many of these all at the same time to cover my feelings accurately.

I tried to put it in technical terms by saying that my brain was currently "running with a load average of at least 10" but that really only works if you know what on earth I'm talking about! *

What is also hard to convey is how difficult things are when what you have put out into the great digital world seems to be so much of your life; people begin to think that that is all there is and forget that one of the great advantages of this virtual environment is that you can hide your true self completely.

Of course this is essentially a double whammy; putting more into your virtual life not only means people believe that is all there is but you also start to find it harder to express things in reality. The digital representations become your way to trying to communicate with everyone else, to try and explain yourself from the slightly safer-feeling cyber world.

The bottom line is that what appears online is, at best, only showing a few small facets of what I am going through and while these show ups and downs they are by no means a complete picture and should not be taken as the whole.

[ * - Load average on a Linux/UNIX machine is the number of processes available to run at a given point in time (actually over a span of time, e.g. average over the last 1, 5, and 10 minutes). Usually on an unloaded machine the load average is low, often less than 1, even if there are lots of things running, most of the time they are waiting for things to happen. Even on a slightly busier machine load average may not increase much. Once you start getting into bigger numbers then the CPU is constantly going to be doing real work and having to think all the time ]

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