Where to draw the line?

My life is an open book. Always has been, always will be. I’d like to think that I’m fairly approachable, but I know that both in social settings and especially when it comes to dating that people find me intimidating (which makes me laugh because half of the time I sound like a kid and act like one too).

Fine. Whatever.

But I also share a lot with you here. From letting you know how much I weigh to letting you know EXACTLY how that makes me feel and relaying thoughts and feelings on studies and articles PLUS the general drivel that pours out of my head on the most random of topics.

But know that there’s a lot that I don’t and will not share with you either.

I’m vague about work for a reason, I respect the rights and wishes of family members, coworkers and friends to their privacy, referring to them by initials at times and leaving out images if they wish and I never really talk about my love life (or lack there of, really).

Is that hypocritical then? Open but closed? Carefree but guarded? An enigma wrapped in a puzzle?

I only ask because we choose to be open, out there, and available on the ‘net. We choose to engage in conversations, communities and relationships, but only when we want and on our terms. We can give the appearance of being open, honest, participatory, welcoming, engaging, trusting, forthright, and honest, but be holding back so much.

The key to being successful, in life, with goals, careers, relationships and in communities like the ones created through blogs is about being transparent and honest. So is holding back being deceitful or do we have a right to privacy?

Do I even make sense?

I just want to know how and where you draw the line. What distinctions do you make as to what is blogworthy, tweetworthy, lifestreamable, youtubeable and what is untouchable?

What do you mark public and what do you keep private?



**keep in mind, this is in no way directed at any one or their own circumstances/situations that may have arisen out of privacy and the ‘net of late. It’s really my own musings about it. And if you’re feeling guilty about how you found me and how you got me and know me in real life, don’t :). I’ve been thinking about these things for awhile and the post was born out of a couple of conversations in the past two weeks.**


Chrissie said...

I'm with you in that I'm pretty open about myself but respect the privacy of relations, colleagues, friends and family. I use the 'no photos or full names unless with their permission' approach too. I also feel strongly that I won't talk about personal 'issues' that effect or involve other people. I do have just one picture of myself on my blog, anad even that has my husband a bit worried about the potential for unwanted... attention shall we say. I do think there's a need for some carefulness, but everyone has to decide where they draw their personal line and I think that without stating it most people do. The internet is too big (and sometimes dangerous) a place to be as open and honest as we might wish we could be!

Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

Hmmmm. I guess I view privacy issues with my blog like this: My blog is about my struggles with weight, yo-yo dietng, and compulsive overeating. I try to stay on that topic, without being extra specific about names, photos of anyone but me, especially my kids. I also presently live in Russia, which may or may not have implications for my personal safety (or maybe I'm just paranoid!).

Basically, I try to stay on topic, and at times must be cryptic about certain things. Admittedly, I've said a few things about difficulties with my mother, but it is a key part of my weight issues.

I would say just do what you are comfortable with...common sense would predict that you wouldn't talk about your job or other things, since it could jeopardize your livelihood.

I've often heard it said "Be careful what you put out there, because once it's out, you'll never be able to put it back in!"

Sorry so long!

marie said...

I think as much as you want to stay "on topic," tidbits of personal information seep out and are easily searchable.

I'm blessed(or cursed) with a very unique name. I don't try to hide it. You can easily find out anything you really want to about me. I just won't willingly offer it all up.

But you'd be surprised at the amount of information people can glean when you string ALL of your posts together.

But I'm not talking about this in a stalkerish way. I'm just wondering about the how's and why's of the ways in which we censor ourselves.

It's just an odd concept since we willingly put ourselves out there every day.

Seems backwards, that's all.

I'm wrestling with it all right now and needed to empty my brain.

Nia a.k.a. Genea said...

Interesting... I've stopped posting details about my struggles on my blog... I now keep it "short and sweet" -- or at least I try to. Why? I guess I still feel unconfortable knowing that my stalker read my blog last year... and I have no idea if he still reads or "lurks". Kinda creepy actually. And it sucks because this whole experience took away the fun of my sharing my trials and tribulations on my weight loss journey :(

Cowgirl Warrior said...

I don't use my real name, I don't mention where I work or what I do exactly.
I come in contact with a lot of people and don't need a random google search to reveal my blog.
The blog is about being anonymous but speaking out - does that make sense?
Weight loss is univeral battle and I can't help but think by sharing what I go through might help someone else know that they're not alone.

Kathleen said...

Private vs public is definitely a hot topic it seems recently. I don't think that joining facebook or blogging requires giving the people surrounding it a guaranteed all-access pass to your life. And I don't think it's expected either. I'm going through the same thing making my doc about my family...I want to respect their privacy, but I'm making a film about them! lol In the end I just think about the content I'm putting out there and what it will mean to the people who encounter it, whether it's a blog post or facebook status update.

Angie All The Way said...

It's definitely a balancing act! Sometimes we get so used to "each other" that we kind of forget that there's "others" that we don't really know who follow along and who may not have the best of intentions. I've always kept my work life out of my blog (my employers read it and it definitely sensors me because of it) and most things about my MVA, but I know that it leaks out here and there and it's a giant risk that we take.

That said, I think that the beauty of being a blogger is that you are in complete control of what purpose you choose to blog, how much you want to share and the rules are really yours. and depending on how wide your audience reaches, what your "intentions" are (are you trying to make $ from your audience, for example), and consequently your "responsibilities" in a public profile.

IMO we don't "owe" any readers personal information that we would otherwise prefer to remain private, but if that's the case, it's wise to not comment about it and allude to it either, but to each their own I suppose! I find that Twitter is my biggest downfall now. I say things on there that I would never say on the blog! Prolly going to get me into trouble!

Jen said...

I definitely draw the line at mentioning work, family and friends.

ESPECIALLY for work, I used to work (and hopefully will again soon!) for a not-for-profit company that is highly scrutinized...I don't want my name linked to me talking smack about it in a post just because I had a crappy day (those posts I privatize).

I DO talk about some issues with my family in unprotected posts...and those make me worry...I AM from a small town, and even though I have a different last name than the rest of my family (except obviously my husband and his family) I still think people could find out if they wanted to.

That's another thing, I stopped mentioning my husbands name on the blog too...he didn't ask to be blogged about, so I shouldn't refer to him by name...though sometimes I say it in comments to other people...bah...when will I learn??

Anyhoo, this long comment basically says: yes, you made perfect sense, no you aren't hypocritical, and it is COMPLETELY up to you what you share with the world.


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