Fiona Maazel on Internet Confessionals
The Internet is a compendium of broken and distorted souls: the blogs, journals, webcams, personal ads. Out there, self-exposure is no longer a niche activity, but a preoccupation that’s slowly colonizing the Internet, site by site. Let’s start with a text I recently saw online: 942422998 I tricked a good friend into betraying me so that I would have someone to hate other than myself. The post is one of 176,961 anonymous confessions currently on view at www.grouphug.us. Launched in October of 2003, the website attracted more than thirteen million hits in its first three months. As of the writing of this piece, nearly 8,000 posts await approval from at least three readers—any three—who happen to feel like moderating. It’s a public affair, though there are rules. As a moderator, you must understand the purpose of the site, which is, ostensibly, to provide relief, camaraderie, and perspective to the confessants, and hours of reading pleasure to the rest of us (cf. 907626756 i can’t stop reading through these confessions and hoping one of them will be someone confessing they love me). You must flag obnoxious formatting. You must weed out the pomp, gratuitous vulgarity, hate speech, and contact info. You must know the difference—and here is the trick—between a legitimate confession and horseshit.
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