Facebook Causes Self-Reflection

By posing questions like, “how old am I?” And, “who am I?”

Karina Smirnoff, Blackpool 2006, photo by Tonya Plank

Karina Smirnoff, Blackpool 2006, photo by Tonya Plank

Regarding the first: apparently 10 years old, as I just became ridiculously giddy on Facebook’s pronouncement: “Tonya is now friends with Karina Smirnoff.” My longtime Latin ballroom IDOL :)

Regarding second question:  one of my new FB friends asked me, “Hey, what’s up with all this Miami City Ballet stuff? Are you a dance critic?” (My status updates lately have been about going to see Miami City Ballet, where I spent the past two days).

So, hmmm. I honestly don’t know. Do bloggers = amateur (or in some cases pro) critics in this new media world? I guess it depends on the blogger and how s/he defines him/herself.  I guess I want to be taken seriously as someone who gives her honest opinions and assessments of things and certainly don’t want to be seen as a lackey to any dance company, but I also try to make my connection with dance personal in a way that a newspaper critic really can’t. Ie: writing in a bit of a persona, calling dancers I really like by their first names, etc. Makes it more interesting albeit less “objective” I think.

I also want to try to avoid being too hard on an artist. I have been and it’s really upset a couple of them. As someone who’s really trying to segue from a career in law to a career as a writer — and especially a writer of fiction — I can relate to and have a deep respect for how difficult the artistic process is and how much you are really putting yourself out there when you subject yourself to public scrutiny. But then again, we all need to have thick skin if we are doing that. And writers do have to keep in mind that our readers are relying on us for our honest opinions; we’re not writing for the artists but for other dance-goers. I do make a distinction between creators who it seems are primarily interested in entertaining and maximizing profit above all else. That’s why I don’t feel badly about being harsh on the TV show producers :)

Oscar Wilde says a critic is a kind of artist.

So, I basically didn’t answer my the second question at all… Anyway, any other thoughts on the roles of blogger vs. critic in the age of new media, or on critic as artist?

5 Comments

  1. Wow that does not look like her…

    For me, when I review something, it is my opinion and I know there there will be some people out there who will not share that opinion. I've had it happen already (my review of the just finished US Figure Skating nationals). It happens. So I think that being concerned if people are upset over an opinion, then, they need to learn that there will be opinions that may not agree with them. *shrugs*

    Am an Artist as a blogger? not in my view of the word. But I do feel like sharing what I know, reviewing how I see things, and putting that into a public blog is a good thing. I think showing that while having a different view is a very good thing, explaining what you see and how you see it can show people that there may be a different way to look at things.

    I guess since I joined Facebook back in the beginning of facebook (04), it didn't really cause any self reflection for me 😉 For me that comes in looking back over old posts in my private blogs. They've showed me both how I've changed and how I've grown.

  2. hi.

    I just started writing a dance blog for an online dancer network. I put thought into what I see and what I write, and I don't think that the content is devalued by the fact that it's in blog-form.

    Thanks.

    Julie

  3. It's funny you write about the blogger/critic identity issue because just a few days ago, I started grappling with the very same question and put some thoughts down in a draft (hopefully it will turn into a post once life calms down . . . ).

    I agree that it depends very much on the blogger – his/her background, situation/place within the dance world, particular aim and project, etc. As I have learned, critic is by no means the default label for people who blog about dance.

    I don't see myself as a critic but more as a historian, advocate, chronicler, participant-observer, and educator. Nonetheless, I know some of my posts may be read as reviews, and I'm wondering if some of them can be/should be classified as such. Something to think about . . .

  4. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Thanks for the great comments, you guys!

    Deborah, I look forward to reading your post on this issue!

    Julie, I agree; I don't think anything is devalued by putting it in blog form. It's just a different format, not less intelligent or rigorous!

    Katrina, I can't believe how different Karina looks since she's been on TV. Her hair, her body, everything. I remember she used to wear really REALLY dark tanner. The darkest. It was kind of her thing. They don't let her go so nuts with the tanner on TV :) And she seems so much thinner. She never had an ounce of fat on her, but she was really muscular. Now, she looks so tiny…

  5. Thanks for the great comments, you guys!

    Deborah, I look forward to reading your post on this issue!

    Julie, I agree; I don't think anything is devalued by putting it in blog form. It's just a different format, not less intelligent or rigorous!

    Katrina, I can't believe how different Karina looks since she's been on TV. Her hair, her body, everything. I remember she used to wear really REALLY dark tanner. The darkest. It was kind of her thing. They don't let her go so nuts with the tanner on TV :) And she seems so much thinner. She never had an ounce of fat on her, but she was really muscular. Now, she looks so tiny…

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