THE BLOG
03/01/2012 12:41 pm ET | Updated May 01, 2012

All or Nothing: On Ambiguity

If there's anything I've learned from my seven or so years of blogging, it's this: people like ambiguity. They enjoy the protection that being vague gives them, and their reasoning behind this partiality isn't something to scoff at, either. Even though the Internet is scary and big and crazy, it's still a small world, and you just don't want people sticking their noses in your business, I guess.

Still, sometimes I still marvel at the extent of this desire to be ambiguous; are you shielding a secret here, or do you just want to sound deep? When I log into Tumblr (or WordPress, or whichever site happens to be hot and I happen to be blogging on at the moment) and see something among the lines of "You gave me so much pain and I couldn't stand it," I can't help but wonder if you're talking about your most recent ex-boyfriend who cheated on you or if you're actually referring to the amount of trouble it took for you to relieve yourself on the toilet the other day. Granted, I really don't want to know. If there's anything I wish to avoid, it's engaging myself in awkward conversation (and I mean this for both scenarios: there's not much I can do about an ex except maybe apologize for his wrongdoings, and I can't exactly ring your doorbell with a laxative in hand without embarrassing the both of us, now can I?) Really, now that I think about it, it's all very silly. We create blogs with the intention of having others read them (C'mon now, if you really wanted it to be private, you could just type things up on Microsoft Word and glue them in a lockable diary), and then we shield away most of what we want to blabber on and on about for the simple reason that we just don't want others to read it. When I stop and think about it, that simply doesn't make sense.

I should probably take the time to say that I'm not asking any of you to relay a play-by-play account of your life stories to everyone on Tumblr at this point in my blog entry. Before you start clicking the "comment" button under this text to angrily express your feelings of disagreement and threaten to burn my house down, do try to hear me out. What I'm trying to do here isn't inspire everyone to start writing about every single detail that happened to them which made them feel so terrible; I'm trying to state an observation. Even I am guilty of writing a few entries on past blogs about how this-and-that made me fall in love harder when he had hurt me so much (though now that I think about it, nothing was even happening... Ah, the joys of false infatuation.) The main point of this passage, if you're still reading this, is again, to point out a trend.

Oh, and to pose a question to y'all: Why do you do it? Why do we bother to create such vague reflections upon our lives? Does it really make you feel better... because to be honest, if something was bothering me that much, I really don't think that a few words would do the trick. I'd still feel pretty damn terrible about the situation -- unless, of course, the point of your blog entry was not to relieve yourself of your pain, but to allow your readers the chance to connect to what you're feeling (but only because your words were spread so thin.)

In the end, writing is primarily supposed to be a form of communication. If you want to communicate effectively, you need to speak--or rather, to write--clearly. If you aren't writing clearly, does it not follow that you're not communicating effectively? Thus, I can't see any ambiguous text as good writing. Give me the juicy details, not just because I'm nosy, but also because ambiguity simply makes no sense to me.

Now that I think about it, though, I guess I'm going to have to disprove my own theory... Admittedly, if I happened to be experiencing trouble with my bathroom escapades, I too would probably try to make it sound much more serious (and by serious, I don't mean constipation) -- but then again, who takes the time to write about the amount of time it took for you to take a shit anyhow?