i am James

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Dear Reader,
I am James; I make videos, I write blogs, I record music, and I don't bite. And you should follow me.
Bests Wishes,
James Pope
P.S..... okay sometimes I bite ;)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Perception of Me

In the name of the fatherless son, and the wholly spiritless James Pope.
May my grace be with each one of you.

In this week's mass, I would like to speak with you all about a truly wonderful topic; me.

Anyone out there enjoy people watching? I love observing social situations. Analyzing large diverse groups of human beings interacting, all with their own individual ticks and behaviors.
Most of us enjoy this type of activity, but the majority of our nation has too short of an attention span to enjoy watching people in real life. Too short to even take notice of the numerous interesting interactions taking place, say... right in front of them while in line at the grocery store. So instead they flush their minds with fictitious people watching, in the form of the reality entertainment that infests a large portion of cable programming.

But don't just blame television; we live in an era of self indulgence: MYspace, FACE(your face)book, YOUtube, and that's just to name a few. The internet has birthed a new pastime activity for the world... we call it social networking;
The ability to meet, engage, and network with people from all over the world... a wonderful thought, not to say it doesn't occur, it does, as is evident by the numerous charities, small businesses, and even national revolutions, that have benefited from the ability to socially network information, photos, and videos across the internet to massive groups of people.

But there is another aspect of online social networks that is less touted, one that we're more ashamed of... and don't like to address or even acknowledge as much; and this is our ability to share ourselves, in extremely large portions... to shame.

Obvious examples include Facebook or dating websites, where with a couple of clicks, one can have access to a form like page that has all of your likes, dislikes, sexual preference, political views, religious stance, and more neatly organized and at the ready to share with the world.
Though less obvious examples include things like Twitter; granting access to all of your random thoughts, and the little things that you find important, which may seem miniscule at first glance, but that can often say a lot about a person.
Even more so with YouTube; people observing your physical being, your body language, and facial expressions.
And the more you share, the more open you become. You allow your being to remain a permanent fixture in a virtual world, for all to observe, and re-observe, manipulate, edit, and re-upload, but most of all... to critique.

The feedback one can receive from an audience about themselves is the ultimate in self indulgence, and I say that with no negativity implied. It is to me one of the most interesting aspects of sharing myself online. With the small audience that I have amassed, receiving comments and criticisms in such a volume starts to give you a perspective of yourself, that I don't feel could be obtained in any other way. It's like people watching yourself through other people's eyes.

My whole life I have been very aware of people's perceptions of me. Probably due to some insecurities on my part, I've always taken great notice in people's reactions to me, and have done my best to see myself, how they see me.

Thinking about this brings up a memory, which is odd to think about now; I remember in elementary school I would get in trouble for saying, “I don't care,” in reference to myself.
You see, throughout my education I occupied the position of class clown. I like to think that I evolved as a class clown, from being just obnoxious and disruptive, to eventually asking very pointed yet antagonistic questions. Still, while I was young I would often tell lots of jokes where in which I made myself the butt, of said joke. The subject that is most prevalent in my mind is that of being poor; I would often make jokes about myself, in regards to having less money than the rest of my peers. My mother would (might) cringe in reading that last part, but I must say, my living conditions were comfortable to say the least. My mom worked hard, on her own, to make sure I went to school in a nice area, where I wouldn't get jumped and would receive a decent education. As a result, we lived in a very wealthy area. I wouldn't in retrospect refer to our living conditions as “poor,” not at all, there was just a noticeable income gap between our household and that of my classmates. Nonetheless, I would make these jokes, and encourage my friends to as well, and teachers would approach with concern to which I would always reply, “I don't care.” And as I think about it now, you'd have to not care. To be so aware of how people perceive you, cutting through the bullshit, and skipping the pleasantries, you would have to not care, maybe you already do have to....

Note of Caution:
When you claim to be so aware of how others perceive you, the big thing to consider, is how much of this pseudo-psychological guess work, is really just you projecting your perception of yourself onto other people. You can't get, too into, thinking you know what other people think, even if it's about you. In reality, most people aren't thinking about you, or me.. we are all, thinking about ourselves.
So.. make sure to like me on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter :P

Finally though, the point I wanted to address, the one that really inspired this post, is how I'm perceived online.
Developing into adulthood, I feel I've achieved a pretty clear perspective of how I am perceived by my friends in the physical world, or as many of you put it; my IRL friends. I feel if you asked them, they would describe me at best; as a comedian, somewhat well read, a good speaker... and at worst; as a talkative know it all, kind of annoying, loud and or having a loud belly ache on most occasions when alcohol is consumed.
The traits they would most stress, would be my talkative nature, though only on certain subjects where I may speak eloquently, such as technology, science.. nerdy stuff basically; never sports. I'd say the persona was solidified my senior year of high school with betrothing of me to the nickname that I still hear on occasion; Wordsworth. Now this is actually after the 18th century poet William Wordsworth, but my friends have no background knowledge of the man, they simply heard his name once in the classroom, and thought it was a fitting match for me. The chanting of said nickname is always paired with an upturn of the nose and a stroking of the chin, as if one was contemplating something very important. Otherwise they would probably say that I'm pretty reclusive, spending most of my time on the computer, looking up articles and watching YouTube videos, so as that I may have a new topic to lecture them endlessly on.
Yet online, at least in some crowds, the perception of me is wholly and entirely different than I would have ever expected. I've heard some YouTubers use the word “macho” in reference to me being an aggressive person. Even more so, if marijuana isn't the reason I'm written off from an intellectual standpoint, then often times I observe the 'macho meat head' persona leak into the arena. If these descriptions were to be expressed to my friends from school and work, they would find it laughable, as I do. Yet it exists. I've heard and read comments about me that suggest sex appeal is the only source of my internet traffic, and that I should leave intellectual topics alone. If you were to convey to my friends in the physical world, that I'm some sort of piece of eye candy, who'd be better off standing around with his shirt off rather than talking about politics.. well I think they'd be wetting themselves at that point in a mad fit of laughter. Yet the perspective exists.

The questions I leave with you are these; How do you perceive me? Is it any different after reading this article? And what about you? Do you have a persona online? If so, does it vary from how you are perceived in the physical world?


  1. Got to tell you James, as an old fart, I find you are a person that cares very much about others. OK sometimes you yell and sometimes you get upset with the people that are very scared with change but in general you are an individual that is very concerned with people. It shows up when you take oics and show your dog.

    1. Thank you Tim, I sincerely appreciate your description :)
      I hope all is well, james.


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