Tuesday, March 11, 2003
posted 1:03 PM
SOMEONE WONDERS...

Why I said it bothered me that I met people who assumed I still wrote on a manual typewriter. Does this make me, for instance, feel old? Well, no, not particularly. What bothers me about it is the gap between self and mediated persona. A mediated persona just sort of accumulates, of its own accord, the way balls of dust build up under a bed. It isn't as though there's any entity ("the media") controlling this process; it just happens. If there was something, no matter what, that you didn't do, and you kept meeting strangers who were convinced you did do that, because they had received, from the dust-ball of your mediated persona, the idea that you did, it might eventually start to bug you too.

It's usually some sort of "hook", the result of journalism's need for shorthand, for sub-heads: "Cyberspace guru uses manual typewriter"... With "Cyberspace guru" being by far the more dubious construction on display there, but *it isn't even true that I use a manual typewriter*. (For the record, once again, it was two and one third novels on manual, Apple ever since.)

While I'm on the topic of mediated personae, something that came up during that CBC taping, last night (for me, anyway) was the idea that blogging (or even posting to fora) represents the democratization of the mediated persona. Literally anyone can have one, now, or several. I am an exception to this, because I have mine via the printed word, the oldest mass medium on the planet, and this website is maintained by a publishing company that belongs to an even larger corporation owned in turn by shapeshifting reptiles from Beta Reticuli, but the rest of you, today, are free to mass-mediate your own personae. Which was formerly, hugely, not the case. Choose a handle, post: you're mediating a persona.

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