I've often used this blog space for reflective, contemplative writings. Blogging goes back to the essence of those dear diary days when I thought and wrote for just one audience: the observations of my environment, together with the inner workings of my mind. And then came Facebook. The online chat relays stretched to a voyeurs dreAm: everyone's a stalker these days. As if the subtext wasnt inviting enough, along came stalkerville; oops it's actually called Twitter. Less than being about what a-little-bird-told-me, it catapulted to popularity based on it's stalker advocacy. Follow me! the banners squeal and entice. Twitter ruled the roost in snippets of mere 140, appealing to a progressivley compulsive generation of non- essayists. The Mxiteers and BBM'rs. A closer look reveals that it holds a certain magnetism for journos, writers, and yes, even essayists, now willing to challenge themselves to the new bite-sized mandate. Long-winded diatribes were quickly whittled down to power-packed fits of expressiveness (or not quite so)...
And so, writing and the way we present and package info has changed drastically.
Our approach and attitude to how we relate to people has altered just as significantly. Those same ethics don't apply. Newer ones have been configured at the utter bewilderment to those who haven't as closely followed social media trends and creating camps of resistance amongst some who are able to measure change over a length of time (say ten or so years). For those who have just started using newer and constantly evolving media platforms, the genesis of past and present makes only mythical sense if at all. Division is a bleak reality, and generational and other often observable gaps are planets apart in some respects.
How do we assimilate these new ways of being without alienating our mirror selves?
How do we retain human links while the machines take over our minds!?
Shafinaaz is a sociologist, artist and poet based in Johannesburg, SA. She is the author of several works of non-fiction and fiction, and has been listed in HayFestival's Africa39 category of top 39 authors in Africa under the age of 40 at the London Book Fair 2014. Also see www.shafinaaz.co.za
I write. As I must. Words are my paints of expression on an otherwise bland canvas, my rollercoasters of delight on otherwise dreary roads. Entertainment or derision, they manifest in my varied states of being. Until theres silence. Even then, theres a dialogue of sorts that continues... in spirit? Who knows..