During an online chat, a former colleague, candidly expressed his thoughts and confusion over a past love affair. He realized that it was the first time he had processed his feelings about that time of his life.
I have had quarrels with my family via email. As we commented back and forth on an issue, we fearlessly revealed and expressed our thoughts, resentment, anger, hurt and misunderstandings. We found closure even though we have never spoken about that issue, after those email exchanges.
It seems that electronic media gives us the freedom to honestly express how we feel. It gives us a voice; we can be heard without being seen. Without the eyes of others on us, we become bold and speak without fear of repercussions. This creates a sense of safety, that allows a much needed outlet for emotional expression as we state how and what we feel and at times why we feel that way.
We speak into a void with delayed feedback that gives no clues about how the information is being received since we cannot see the facial expressions or body language of others. There is no interruption of thought as people only “speak” to us when we have had our full say.
As we focus on our voices, we dis-associate from the other parts of ourselves and become depersonalized as our lives fade into the background. In this anonymity, we say what we would not normally say because it feels remote, other and unreal.
We have all observed criticisms of people who made “ist” statements, or posted pictures and videos that have been deemed inappropriate, and watched as the speakers explain and defend their rights to expression. Yet, there seems to be no shared learning from these experiences. We still show up naked on the net, baring ourselves for public consumption.
This is part of my world now, as I unravel my thoughts and put them out into the world. While I am sharply aware of how I show up, I am not compelled to filter my thoughts and present a clean face to the world. The facelessness of Facebook, the lack of human connection of LinkedIn and the inanimate relationships on WordPress, liberates me to slowly release thoughts from their abysses. I am free to add my piece to the growing morass of disassociated thoughts.
What would you say if there was no repercussion? What would you share with the world?