Sunday, June 25, 2006

Self, No Self

For the better part of last year and a good chunk of this year, my user profile read as follows:

I write. I draw. I plot. I scheme. I eat. I sleep. I work. I play. I live. I die.

But for the most part, I write.

I've been writing since I was 12, and I've had enough patience to write more short stories than I can count. At least half of them were good enough to publish.

I've done story work for quite a few things (including the Anito computer game), although I tend to work on many other branches of literary expression. Not many people know about me just yet, but I'm slowly gaining a reputation for hard, fast, creative plotlines and well-developed characters.

Otherwise, I'm a chronic game-player, growing up on a diet of personal diversions. I've long enjoyed stuff that makes me think, which means that you can probably say anything with the good chance that we'll find some middle ground to walk on.

If you're new here, do look around. Read up on the Antaria installments. Study the awkward treatises on writing. Get threats from the monthly disclaimers. Post whatever comments you want. I can very well assure you that I don't bite. (I disable, dislocate, shatter, hamstring and maim, yes, but I don't bite.)

As with many things in life, however, I figure that it's about time for a change. Most of us are blog writers, after all -- we're aware that every single one of our new posts inevitably replaces an old, run-down article on the front pages of our respective sites. We get a little older, we get a little wiser, we get a little more crochety, and we eventually have to change the way we refer to ourselves.

My profile, for example, references the Anito computer game. Hasn't it been two years since the game originally came out? And it's not as though it received a lot of exposure on the international front. If I raise any spectre of my work in my profile, then I should really be pointing out my more recent achievements, I think.

On the other hand, one really has to consider what the User Profile's for. People only usually read it once, and that's when they're new to the blog and wondering about what kind of person the author is. It's strange, actually, once you realize that we bare more of our heart and soul in our posts than we do in our profile write-ups.

In this light, I suspect that the profile write-up has more to do with a basic introduction than it does a personal description. It's literally an avenue by which we "sell" people the prospect of reading the blog -- much like the cliffhanger synopsis on the back of a mystery novel. "Will Sean continue his silent war against online plagiarism? Will Sean ever realize that his passion for games actually masks a critical weakness to kryptonite? Will Sean ever overcome his secret desire to wrestle naked in a kiddy pool filled with carbonara sauce?"


Er... feel free to ignore that last bit. I'm sure you get the idea, anyway.

This, of course, raises a particular question: Assuming that it's best to write a User Profile for the express purpose of making the author seem interesting, then what's the optimal method for writing a proper introduction? Should one reveal one's true identity, for instance? Can we brag about our achievements without alienating ourselves from the rest of society? Can we legitimately talk about our hopes and dreams without whining about our lot in life? How far should we go into the minutiae of everyday existence before the readers start getting bored?

The irony, I think, is that each of the above questions can just as easily be asked about our blog posts. The idea of our User Profiles being a summary of exactly who we are and how we write sounds more and more plausible with each passing second.

For my part, I'm going to be checking my blogroll to see how other people put together their write-ups. I don't expect that everybody will have a good, entertaining or informative User Profile, of course, but I think I should be able to identify what I want to see and what I don't want to see in a personal introduction. And if the experience only ends up confusing me further, to the point that I don't know how to rewrite my User Profile, then that'll only give me license to write anything I darn well want.

So there you have it. Now, if I could only come up with a snappy answer for all of Blogger's random questions...


cstiu said...

Actually I was wondering, how'd you find my user profile description? Just curious.

How are you doing btw? How does it feel to be hanging about the house (I'm assuming, of course.)

Drop me a line, you know my email :)

Sean said...

Cstiu: Your write-up's fine. It ties together the eclectic title of your blog with your personality, and essentially tells people what they can expect from you. The only objection I had was that the mention of Calvin and Hobbes seemed to come out of nowhere at all, but on the other hand, it does give a nice point of reference. :)

Further details are in the e-mail I sent over. Check your messages. :)

banzai cat said...

I kinda thought that it was a great jump for your profile: from 1st person, you're now talking about yourself in the third person. Heh.

As for myself, I've never been comfortable talking about myself so I'd rather go for a snappy comeback in my profile. ;)

Sean said...

Banzai Cat: After reading a few profiles that were written in the third person, I figured that that would fit the blog a little better. I suspect that it's because such writings resemble the author profiles on the backs of hardcover books.

That said, Cat, I don't think I've been able to read a profile of yours yet. Write one already!

Gem :3 said...

Oh dear... that Sean likes sutffed animals does indicate that something's very very wrong with his.... keyboard.
Or that there are animals out there being fed.... Suft.

>O Sean!

Sean said...

Gem: Nice catch. I should start offering prizes for people who find typing errors here. :)