Wednesday, February 20, 2008
My Blog is Me. I am a robot.
A while ago, I learned about Mia Rose. I didn't know that she was tremendously famous now. I think I like her. A lot of haters are around now, of course, because they think she was prepackaged. This happens quite a bit online. Things on the internet seem so real. . . like it's DYI or something.
I mean to say that blogs and vlogs and Youtube and Facebook seem for and by the people using them. The corporations own them, and we all agree to be advertised toward in exchange for use of their products, but we are real. We are us online. Naturally, it's only a piece of us, it's only an avatar, but no matter how much we try to hide our true selves with assumed voices or fake photos, what's valued in online personalities is authenticity. Users can usually spot a fake. They know when they're being spammed or scammed online. So when a corporation sends out a decoy like one of those wooden ducks we all land next to, it pisses people off because they've invaded a realm reserved for non-corporate bitches. No one likes a phony.
Mia Rose seems like a girl who likes to sing to a video camera online, but some people are saying her fame was generated by handlers who bumped up her numbers with dummy youtube accounts. That the whole thing was actually an orchestrated marketing campaign rather than just a young woman with a webcam.
My favorite blog is stolenpony. If I found out that Jennifer Best was some kind of corporate robot created to sell me things on Amazon.com or something, I would be rather upset because it ruins precisely that which I love about her blog: it's a real person talking about real things that evoke an emotional response. I do wish she'd proofread sometimes, but her little typos or weird grammatical stuff makes me sure that a robot isn't writing it. But what if a robot were writing it? Would it change my enjoyment of the blog? Yes. I would feel stupid to fall for a computer/corporation who knew that little mistakes in grammar and spelling make me think something is real. It's a betrayal of an unwritten code. . . online etiquette.
You know how when you listen to guitar music, you can hear the sound of the fingers dragging across the strings between frets? When you hear that, you know there's a person doing that. What if a machine could mimic that sound exactly. You wouldn't be able to tell it wasn't human. Let's say you loved that guitar player; would you feel bad when you found out it was a robot?
We should all know by now that it isn't hard to make a good fake, and we buy artifice because we love it. But when we become aware of artifice, we are outraged; think about how Oprah's book army attacked when they found about James Frey. They described him as brutally honest, which I don't think a book of any kind can really be. Can a blog be?
No. But we want it to be as real and honest as possible. We're vulnerable online, so we want others to be, too. My blog is me. Jack Morgan here is a lot like the Jack Morgan you'd meet in RL, but it's not exactly me. Sometimes I think things are funny online that I wouldn't find funny elsewhere. Sometimes I think about things on my blog that I don't think of when I'm not writing it. Sometimes it's an overflow of RL obsessions, and sometimes the thoughts I have here don't come into my real life at all. Sometimes my blog is more private than public, weirdly. Sometimes it's the only place I have to be honest with everyone. I risk a lot having this blog. People hate me because of it, and people love me because of it, but is it me they're loving? Is it the blog they love? I know that when people say mean things about my blog, I feel like they are being mean to my person, but I enjoy the line between the blog and me, too, and I hide behind it as much as I hide behind poetry and art.
What if I were a robot?