I remember once, walking home from work, I spotted Emily walking down Crosby outside of the now defunct Gawker offices. My heart fluttered in my chest a little. Because she exposed herself so honestly and powerfully - through her writing on Gawker, and also through her other two sites - Emily Magazine and Heartbreak Soup - I felt like I knew her. I felt like we were two kindred spirits caught up in the whirlwind of the New York media world, trying to claw our way out alive. Of course, I did nothing but write for this little blog - and she was a Gawker writer, one of the most coveted positions in the underground, subversive, suit-hating New York media club. I fully envied her.
Once I even ran into fellow blogger, and ex of Emily, Joshua David Stein, outside my dorm while on a smoke break. "Hey - you write for Gawker!" I proclaimed. I was definitely stoned, but also definitely excited to have such an intimate runin with one of my fav pseudo celebs. It was awkward, and I think he was a little taken aback that I recognized him, but it solidified the fact that Gawker writers had now become mini celebrities in their own right. In the same way they had opened up other "fame whores" to public scrutinity and anxiety, they, too, were now being sent to the slaughter, one post at a time.
After her relationship with Josh ended, I followed Emily's heartbreak with marked intensity. How could Joshua David Stein paint her as such an evil character in that New York Post article? I had silently rooted for both of them, and now, they were pitted against each other and I would have to choose who to side with.
Ultimately, I chose neither. Emily lost the heroine glow I had initially prescribed for her, and I began to believe the rumors about JDS being a total asshole. Emily seemed a little too wounded for me, but I understood that compulsion to share your secrets with the entire world. The internet had allowed both of us to become exhibitionists. I could never write the intimate details about my relationships that Emily ultimately penned and published, but the desire to share things with people in order to make a basic human connection was still there.
And in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine, you'll get to see exactly what I mean. Ms. Gould has the cover page all to herself, channeling a darker, more tatted up version of Julia Allison in an "I blog from my bed" sort of way. Leave it to Emily to make blogging sexy.
The article, though in my opinion is not some of Emily's best writing work, lays bear the exacting perils of laying bear. The skin that she had constructed to wear to fend off the (few) negative comments she received on her Gawker posts was eventually not enough to protect her from herself.
I am well acquainted with the harm personal blogging can cause, mostly through naive high school experience. The Xanga I kept chronicling my illicit teenage activities was, of course, eventually unearthed by my parents, only to be printed out and used as evidence against my transgressions. I was grounded for a month, and not allowed to go to my final Dave Matthews Band show of the season. It would have been number 15.
My Deadjournal, which I kept to the dissatisfaction of my friends, frequently pointed out their negative qualities, as well as subtly touching upon mine. My online journal became a platform from which I proclaimed all of my poseur interests, and it was greeted with vicious comments from my best friends and others who saw right through my charade. I was trying to be someone, as I so frequently was throughout my high school career, only online it was startlingly obvious. I eventually shut down my Deadjournal and transferred to a much more private and discreet Livejournal, which I still keep. It holds all the important things that have happened to me since I was 16. It feels good to know I can look back on those memories with a palpable mixture of nostalgia and disgust. But it is also a good reminder of how things can go terribly wrong when your whole life is scattered across the page for anyone with an internet hookup to read.
I try to steer away from writing about things that are intensely personal, but sometimes I can't help myself. Like Emily, my desire for exhibitionism and attention is still there. Hopefully it won't ever ruin my relationships - or really, my life - like it did hers.