Welcome to the Era of the “My Generation”
I have been advised by those who know to build my own website, as well as one on ramp agent parenting, in order to promote, and “own” the term and concept I’m developing. Actually, I’m lying. I’m being kind to myself: I haven’t been advised so much as been met with incredulity that I don’t already have one.
People have also been surprised that I don’t have my own blog. But pretty much since blogging began I’ve worried that everyone is blogging and no one is listening and if I blog, will anyone know—or care? Now that there are books on blogging and blogs that have turned into books and anti-blogging books and blogs and blogs about blogging, I’m even more worried.
I am chastised for not tweeting enough. I get it, on lots of levels, but I’m also not sure I want to fully embrace the habit of posting: Here’s where I am; and here’s what I think about it; here’s what I’m eating, and here’s a food porn pic; here’s who I’m with; here’s what I’m wearing; here is the music I’m listening to; here’s the last thing I read; and here’s what I think about that.
I bought the domain names kathleenvolkmiller.com and rampagentparent.com and contacted a designer to start building these sites. Even that much felt funny to me: I now own kathleenvolkmiller.com. Will I ever be able to tell someone to go there without feeling like an asshole? Will I have it printed on my business cards? The answer my friends give me is “everyone is doing it,” but when I listened to friends and followed that kind of advice in the past, I always got in trouble, and as a parent I tell my kids that’s no reason to do something.
Website-building decisions are hard: What color should the background be? Hot pink is too young, right? But what about purple—too girlie even though I am female? Transcendental blue, like my office at Drexel, meant to help my psychological state and my cinder-block walls … will transcendental blue translate to virtual walls?
And the buttons: What about the navigational buttons? How many buttons should I have and should one say “about” or “about me” because, after all, it’s about me isn’t it? Isn’t it?
It feels like it’s all about me. I mean, we each have: my wall with my friends, my desktop, my playlist, my Twitter feed with my followers, my Tumblr page (but don’t you steal my gifs), and my Pinterest inspiration boards (the whole point of which is to steal/pin ideas and images from one another).
Myspace might be dead, but there is My Apron (if you work at Home Depot), and My Glam (if you like beauty products), and My Fitness Pal (if you want to track your workouts, and who doesn’t?), and My Sports (no explanation needed). There is even MyFoxPhilly, though what makes it mine I cannot tell you. You can use MyDish to watch My Strange Addiction or My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, and if that doesn’t interest you, put My Week With Marilyn in your Netflix queue. Of course, all of this is done while we float around on My Cloud.
If the ’70s were the Me Generation, then maybe this is the My Generation. The idioms of the ’70s—”Be yourself,” “Believe in yourself,” “You must love yourself before you can love someone else”—all had to do with the self, and specifically, the body, a certain control. People exercised, meditated; the yoga movement began. The My Generation is focused on the virtual self, the cloned selves, the social media representation of self, an attempt to control the intangible digital.
Which brings me back to my website, this peer-pressured virtual identity, this new necessity. Do I have enough material for it? Do I have enough links? Will I have to blog and tweet to keep this virtual kite in the air? I’m afraid I won’t be able to be trained to maintain it myself; I’m afraid I won’t blog and tweet enough; I’m afraid to install a visitor counter, because what if nobody comes?; I’m afraid that I don’t know what an RSS feed is and whether or not I should have one. I’m trying to be myself and believe in myself and love myself, but it’s so very hard to pick a color for my background, and don’t get me started on the picture.