Audience

No more than two months ago, I was still a die-hard Twitter skeptic. I thought it was entertaining but trivial, and I thought I'd have no use for it. I also thought - privacy maniac as I am sometimes - that it was too public for random musings. A lot of my blogs and journals in the past have been kept private, or tightly controlled - and it was strange to me to think about anyone being able to follow me, to keep themselves updated on Christine's whereabouts and doings.

Bit by bit, though, I started to notice more of my real-life friends online. Other MIT students, other people I felt shared my level of significance, started tweeting funny things about things they read, conversations they overheard, and somewhere along those two months, I started giving in. I'm tweeting more, @replying more, and slowly starting to see how communities of people get sucked in entirely.

What I've been thinking about recently as a result is the effect of audience - how who reads what you write (or your perception of that set) so drastically affects what and how you write. This blog, for example, isn't publicized but is obviously linked to my identity. Somewhere, a Google search for "Christine Yen" returns my resume. I also don't post very often - because I feel like I have to have thought something through to post here. There's a (slight) fear of being judged harshly by what I write here.

On the completely opposite side is my Tumblr - it's entirely secret, hopefully not at all identifiable as mine - used to store random funny images, videos, quotes, and every once in awhile, private and/or painful conversation snippets I want to remember. Its informality is in fact designed to be the alternative to blogging, where as little thought as possible is required to go into each post.

And finally, I've begun to fit Twitter into my life someplace in the middle. Tweeting out into the wide unknown isn't interesting to me - I've got my blog or my Tumblr for that. If I was going to tell people about the gorgeous weather or wandering geese in Boston, I want people reading it to actually find it relevant, rather than finding it inconsequential and writing me off as a result. But there's also the safety net of generally low expectations for tweets - so if I'm having a down day, I've got an excuse, and plenty more updates to redeem myself. There's also a feeling of camaraderie on Twitter - knowing that I've got a set of people I care about to please, to entertain, makes me want to rise to the challenge of cramming a witty thought into 140 characters.

In any case - I kind of like how the lines are blurring. And while I'm used to being able to tightly control my audience, I can't say I mind this freedom too much, either.

Let me know what you think on Twitter.