Tangled Up in Selves

Like my students, I seem to have developed an assortment of identities. Yes, I am a teacher and an artist, but now these two pieces of my professional self have branched out, divided and multiplied. I am a writer, so as soon as I discovered the multi-faceted world of blogging, I was entangled and hooked.

As a poet, I constantly attempt to concoct and create work that is fresh, intellectual and provocative. As a professor of Composition, I constantly seek to revise, clarify as well as remain relevant and up-to-date. As a blogger, I feel free to write and express without the pressure of reaching a certain level or standard. At the same time, I am still communicating to others in a less formal way.

Because I associated worthwhile writing with competition and publication, blogging was like switching from high heels to flats or from suits to khakis and shirts. It is work that is accessible to the public, but without expectations. So, while blogging is not a diary, nor is it the New Yorker, it carries some social and civic weight.

Meanwhile, it seems that the blogger (including myself) is culturally encouraged to organize, categorize and separate his/her types of writing. This organization can be deciphered by way of the blogger’s subject matter, writer’s voice, tone and expertise.

I have suddenly accessed and embraced my ability to write to share without having to outshine my last publication. It’s been a liberating journey, this path toward blogging; I don’t have to be strictly one writer. I have a variety of interests, obsessions, expertise, experiences and moods. Therefore, shouldn’t my writing also be as layered and diverse as my own daily processes? Now that it is, now that I allowed my writer’s voice to branch out freely, rather than remain contained in a pot, I am concerned about how the constant dividing of the voice affects one’s authenticity.

There’s a blog for this audience; there’s a blog for that audience. This blog makes money; this one doesn’t. This blog should sound like this; this blog should sound like that. So, are all my blogs and social media profiles each its own identity? Or is all my writing, published or self-published, all parts of an identity? If so, which parts are contrived? If it is a contrived effort to fit the criteria of the created blog, is not that choice to contrive a piece of work for a certain audience an authentic one?

How does one decode which blog is for which audience? I tend to network my blogs and offer access to my other “types” of writing, but the other day, a colleague suggested I should keep these “identities” separate. I feel like each blog is a part of me, a part of my professional self, a part of my artistic self, a part of my social self. Does the voice of one blog remain isolated from the others? Should it be?

As these digital identities and voices multiply, what is a professional to do?
Comments are warmly welcome.

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