Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Privacy, Please?

Are there things you draw the line at sharing on your blog or in comments on others' blogs or on Facebook? Is anything too intimate for public consumption or too delicate for discussion? Do you find yourself cringing at TMI?

In this day and age, when anybody with a computer can openly express their opinion or delve into the life of a celebrity, should we draw the line? Where? I know some of the things I have revealed would never have been shared by my parents. Is this a generational thing, or a mid-western line of thought (as Don Draper on Mad Men, said, when he fielded a question about 'who' he was in an interview: I'm from the mid-west, where we don't consider it polite to talk about ourselves.)?

An article I read several months ago in a news magazine made the case for 'over-sharing,' stating it could be a civic good in a way, by offering advice for 'intimate strangers' who may be struggling through the same issues you've dealt or are dealing with...and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicts that each year Facebook users will share twice as much information as the year before, and that our children will reveal things that would shock and astonish their parents.

I don't know about Facebook, not exploring it much or on it enough to really delve into it, but I've found this blogging community to be highly interesting and entertaining. I probably will never meet any of you face-to-face, but in some ways I have grown to learn things about you some of your closest friends probably don't know. And visa-versa. I've learned worthwhile things in reading the blogs of others, and have found a support group of friends in the process.

I'm pretty sure some of my posts, particularly about my bouts of surgery and cancer, have turned off some readers and left others scratching their heads as to why I'd even put it out there. But it's been important to me to share information in the hopes of educating others -- maybe someone will learn a symptom and pursue it with their doctor. Maybe my comments have offered support or advice that someone has needed to read.

There are some things I doubt I'll ever post about, and if I come across something that I'd rather not think or read about, I'll get out of the site. I wouldn't betray a confidence or write anything embarrassing about another intimate. But all in all, I think being electronically connected to a vast network of strangers has been a worthwhile experience.

13 comments:

nicegirlnotes.com said...

Hi, I'm visiting from SITS. You make some great points. I was just thinking the same thing recently.

My six month old daughter is having surgery in two weeks. Our close friends/family know, but the entirety of Facebook does not. I'm wondering whether I should keep it to myself or talk about it on Facebook. Part of me would love to use FB to update everyone "Sophie's doing great, and we'll be home in three days!" but I'm afraid people would think I was... well, I don't know what.

Tony Single said...

I often wonder if I'm a contender for the day's TMI Award whenever I put up a new post. I have admitted doubts and feelings there that I just wouldn't face to face with most of my friends and family. Perhaps there's something about the anonymity that the internet affords. Hang on... I've used my real name and image... oh crud. :P

ReformingGeek said...

If you're willing to work at at, Facebook allows you to set up groups and you can post only to those groups.

I don't do that because I don't want to make using Facebook too much work. ;)

I tire of Facebook friends that post about one subject over and over again (their religion or politics).

I find myself limited to what I can write about on my blog. I don't post about my husband's work and try to avoid subjects that are too private. Too many people I know personally read my blog and afterall, the Internet really isn't all that "private".

Chris said...

I am pretty circumspect about what I post on Facebook, mostly because of the number and diversity of people to whom I am connected.That is my public face to friends, colleagues, and potential employers, among others.

It's also why I don't tell all of my friends about my blog. I say things there that I won't say on FB. But there is still a lot I won't say on my blog. I'm pretty free with information about myself, but like you, I feel a need to protect the privacy of those close to me.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Great post!

While I dislike Facebook and twitter so don't use them i can't speak about those social networks. However blogging is exactly to me as you describe. I honestly think that while people for the most part "share" a lot of info most of it is not what needs to be shared. Does that make sense to you?

But for me I know in my experience that my blog world has supported me and been there for me in times when i really needed it...and they knew because I shared. So in that respect it has served me well....like a very good friendship.

zodiblog said...

I agree with you completely. The vast majority of my posts are inane, puerile nonsense, because I am a humor writer after all. However, I do write about a lot of personal and deep experiences and the feedback that I have received has been amazingly helpful.

Rachel Cotterill said...

I blog under my full name, and most of my friends know about my blog - so I don't say anything that I wouldn't want to put my name to in public. On the other hand, I never feel it's holding back my blogging.

JGH said...

A very thought-provoking post. Peggy Ohrenstein had an interesting Op-Ed in the New York Times over the weekend about how we create online personas for ourselves in deciding what we want to share. She also reflected on not being able to be fully in the moment, because she was too busy deciding how she was going to tweet it!

The Urban Cowboy said...

There is actually quite a bit I wouldn't post about. Especially when it comes to others.

宛淑芳真 said...

THX FOR SHARE!!!感激呀!............................................................

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

I have whole segments of my life that I don't blog about. It's stuff that I'd have to get paid to reveal!

Doris Sturm said...

Hello again :-) It's been a while - have been needing to take a break because blogging - albeit very fun and entertaining - has become somewhat of a chore, trying to keep up and comment and post...and I don't want this to become an obligatory occupation, but just fun and an outlet of sorts. I find this whole blogging activity, like you, very entertaining and enlightening. I have met many nice people on here and that gives me hope for the human race since I have turned somewhat cynical over the years.
As far as TMI... if it's out there and you don't like it, just move on to the next blog...no big deal, like the channels on TV, don't complain about it, just switch it, or better yet, turn it off ;-)
I think everyone who has a blog can do what they want with it and nobody is forced to read it if they don't like it. I think being able to express yourself through writing - even on a blog - is therapeutic and can in the long run save you from yourself...or at least a high priced psychiatrist.

I do hope that you are feeling well and that you will have a wonderful week. I am actually working on my Christmas projects because I'm tired of being late every year.

Kind Regards,
Doris and Gizzy :-)

Leslie said...

Thanks for this post. I post all the time on FB. Blog has suffered due to camera issues which are little by slow being resolved. Indeed, many are just TMI, but I find the oddest things get dialogs among my friends going and that's what it's all about for me.

I so wish a blog had been there for me when I was going thru cancer. An outlet for the angst without a face telling me they can't stand another word about it at the moment, yanno what I mean? People are funny...