Saturday, March 31, 2007

Enough About Me, Let's Talk About You...What Do You Think of Me?

In the past two days, I've learned about 2 websites that both compel and repel me. (And I heard about them both on MPR!)

The first is called Twitter, which is an instant messaging site -- sort of. Members of this site leave messages for their Twitter friends about what they are doing that second. The members only have about 140 characters to describe their activities. You can access it from any wireless device or just log on.

The second is called Future Me and it takes the idea of time capsules into email. On Future Me, you can send your future self a letter from your past (or current) self. Still with me? You have to pick a day at least 30 days and no more than 50 years in the future. Then, it will be emailed to you. Any person can also read other people's public Future Me letters, and they range from the banal to touching to mysterious to funny and depressing. Readers can also rate the letters. The more I read these letters, the more intrigued I get.

All of this makes me wonder 2 things. First, is this any different than creative writing? Obviously, I would call blogging creative writing, and this seems to be an extension of blogging in its own way. And you can say that blogging is an extension of confessional writing, poetry and journals. So, to make a logical leap, can we go from Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and May Sarton to Future Me letters and blurbing about yourself? Is this the new wave of poetry and journal writing, stripped bare for the public for all to see?

Second, why are we so obsessed with ourselves? I know, I know, Time Magazine asked this question in a really didactic and old-fogey way a couple of months ago. But this obsession with ourselves is starting to weird me out. (She says on her blog.) The more that I think about this though, the more I wonder if this is our obsession with ourselves or an obsession with each other. While reading the Future Me letters, I was more interested in finding out who these people were and what their goals were. I wasn't as concerned with what I would say, but what has already been said.

All of this leads, of course, to the future of this type of writing. Will it die out or will it grow? Will we be blogging and blurbing and contacting ourselves in the future forever? Will it turn into a meta experience where we describe the act of blurbing while blurbing and read other people's blurb experience? I think we're already on the way to that, and I don't know what that means for us as a culture.