Some time back, I watched a 1950′s Disney cartoon, Motor Mania (German-language YouTube video here; I couldn’t find one with English dubbing). In the cartoon, Goofy was depicted as the usual mild-mannered everyman, “Mr. Walker.” However, whenever he gets behind the wheel, he transforms into this crazy maniac driver, “Mr. Wheeler.” It’s a Dr. Jeckyll-and-Mr. Hyde kind of transformation. He speeds. He runs red lights. He honks at pedestrians. He’s basically an overly-agressive driver.
Whenever “Mr. Wheeler” steps off his auto, he’s Mr. Walker again, and gets subjected to abuse by motorists. But as soon as he’s back at the wheel, hello Mr. Wheeler.
The narrator said people tend to be like that. We become totally different individuals when we get behind the wheel. And referring to another documentary or article I read somewhere, we even become what we drive. For instance, SUV drivers may tend to be more aggressive. Drivers of compact cars tend to zoom in and out of tight spaces, but are also prone to be timid drivers, for instance, compared with those driving powerful sports cars. You know the drill. The bigger or faster the ride, the bigger your ego gets.
To tell you the truth, I’m sometimes like this, too. Hidden behind the “shield” that is my car, I tend to be a different person, for I know that other drivers cannot see my face behind tinted glass.
I do think this can be the case with blogging, too.
Whoever said you can be yourself when you blog? Sure, blogging can give you a voice. But are you sure that is actually your voice that comes out of your blog posts? I know of a few people who are in fact mild-mannered everymen, but turn into egotistical maniacs when they publish posts, bashing just about everything and everyone. When you meet them in person, you probably won’t be able to associate them with their blogs easily.
This makes me think which is which? In the analogy of Mr. Walker and Mr. Wheeler, is Mr. Walker the real person, and Mr. Wheeler the effect of the feeling of invincibility–and invisibility–that a car (or in this case, a blog) provides? Or is Mr. Walker just the façade that a person projects, but with Mr. Wheeler as the actual repressed persona coming out when the need calls for it?
Perhaps the better question to ask is are you who you blog as?
Then again, this might not necessarily be a bad thing. Blogs can be a façade one can use to project his or her alter-egos, to profess, express or explore passions that are otherwise difficult or impossible to do in real life. It only becomes harmful when there is real danger involved. Whenever Mr. Wheeler is at the wheel, he endangers other motorists, pedestrians, and even himself. With blogging, there is perhaps not much to worry about, aside from the usual Web-related security threats, and of course, the possibility of your making a fool of yourself both in the blogosphere and in real life.