In which Wade discusses his reservations about filters.
This entry is about filters. You might think that a filter post would be a simple affair, but if so, you've forgotten whose journal you are reading :-) This isn't an opt-in entry, this is an entry discussing why I have reservations about filters.
So, onward ho. I'm quite torn on the issue of LJ filters. As far as I can tell, there are two reasons why people instigate them:
- A desire to keep some things semi-private, or control who has access to specific information about oneself.
- A desire to avoid cluttering the friends page of friends with topics they aren't interested in.
It will probably come as no surprise that the first of these reasons just doesn't apply to me. In fact, I have almost diametrically opposed thoughts on the matter. I lean very strongly towards complete transparency and radical openness in my interactions with others, because I believe very strongly that being open encourages others to be open, which in turn allows us to actually get to know the *real* each-other, to establish a *real* sense of trust and connection, to make *real* connections, to be *truly honest* with one another about our feelings and thoughts. And this doesn't just apply to full-on emotionally-and-physically-involved relationships; it also applies to less intimate but no less significant friendships. I'm just not really one for casual friendships; I much prefer having a small number of close friends to having a large group of acquaintance-friends.
I am on LJ because I think it is a wonderful way to meet like-minded people, both in cyberspace and in reality, for both friendships and possibly more intimate relationships. Web personals sites like Lavalife, although designed to allow people to meet, honestly seem much less effective to me than LJ, now that I've discovered it. The web personals tend to concentrate on some physical stats, a profile pic, and 5-10 lines of description. I'm always puzzled at how brief many people's descriptions are on such sites. How do they expect people to know if they are interested if they don't convey any details about themselves? My descriptions on such sites are always X bytes, where X is the largest amount they will give me. But maybe that's why I haven't found such sites particularily useful; maybe web-personals users *want* small profiles with little detail. I most definitely prefer long, detailed, personality-portraying profiles, which seem in short supply on such sites. For the most part, my web-personals experience has been one of "too much time spent, and most of it wasted". But then again, I did find my most significant relationship to date (Sue) on such a site, so I really shouldn't be complaining. I just like LJ much better; it fits with the way I like to get to know people.
I mention all this as a convoluted way of explaining why I am somewhat reticent to lock posts away behind filters. I am on LJ to meet real people, and develop real connections. I honestly believe that the topics that most people have a tendency to hide away are the topics that tell the most about the person, and provide the best means of truly understanding and connecting with the person. I can understand people being trepiditous about revealing their private thoughts, out of concern that if others knew what they really thought, they wouldn't be liked. But although I can understand it, I am just not wired to have that concern. I'd rather someone decide they don't like the real me and stop interacting than to have to put on masks and facades that the individual will find more appealing. I prefer keeping things simple.
So, back to the topic of filters. On the one hand, I prefer having almost everything in my journal open. Every single person on my friends list was added either because I stumbled across their profile, read their entries, and liked what I saw, or because they did the same, after which I read their profile and liked what I saw. I rarely add people who are predominantly friends-only (there are exceptions), mostly because the publicly available posts in such journals tend to be relatively content-free and do not allow me to connect with the personality behind the journal. There is a certain kind of journal entry that I find most interesting and rewarding and connection-forming, one that demonstrates self-awareness, introspection, self-confidence, and perception. If such entries are hidden away in friends-only land, it would seem to lead to missed opportunities in developing real connections. And that is a tragedy, because real connections are very valuable things!
There is, however, the other side of the filter coin. Different people find different things interesting, and I certainly don't want to be cluttering up my friend's friends page with drivel they aren't interested in. In the past (and, for the most part, the future), my compromise between desire-for-openness, and the desire to avoid inflicting unwanted postings on my friends, has been to leave as small a footprint in Friends Pages as possible; hence the reason I always provide a brief synopsis and hide the content of my posts behind a cut.
I was contemplating making a polyamory filter, and a transhumanism filter, and a job filter, and various other filters, since I plan on posting more articles on these topics than I have been. However, I really want such postings to be visible to people even if they aren't on my friends list. If there was a way in LJ to hide posts away from those that request not to see them, but *still* allow non-flist people to read them, it sure would be nice! Have I missed a feature of LJ that would allow this?
In conclusion, I am reticent to create filters. There is, however, one partial exception. You can read about it, and opt-in if so inclined, here.
I'm curious as to whether there are counter-arguments to my philosophy of filters - am I out to lunch here?
Would you prefer if I made more filters?
Have you ever wondered how geckos can walk on walls?