Sunday, May 29, 2011

Privacy Please: An Analyis of Its Disappearance

  While the advent of social media has been great for improving communication in many cases, it also marks the disappearance of privacy in many ways. You can't be Facebook friends with your boss unless you're okay with him/her seeing that you spent your entire Friday night drinking beers with your friends or that you just beat Guitar Hero, again. And don't get me started on being friends with parents on Facebook. No matter how old you are, they will inevitably disapprove of certain things that you, or your other friends, post on your wall.
    But Facebook is just the start. There is still some element of privacy to it. You don't have to friend your mom or your boss. You can make your profile private so that only your Facebook friends can view what you post to it. Twitter has two options: private or public. And most blogs are the same way. You approve or disapprove the people who want to follow you and read what you have to say. But you may still have to censor yourself.
    The Internet has made privacy pretty much nonexistent, even with all the privacy settings you can add to what you might share online. Once you say something online, you can't take it back. There is a permanent digital record of all of it, somewhere, in cyberspace. Even if you delete it. And that makes honesty a real challenge sometimes, because knowing that what you say in the virtual world can come back to haunt you in the real world is kind of scary. Some people just don't realize this. But some of those that do censor what they say.
    However, taking everyone into account for censorship is a major pain in the ass. Some people will think what you have to say is funny or interesting or cool, and others will be offended or dismayed. When speaking to someone directly, some censorship is appropriate at times, though it's called tact instead. But in writing, there shouldn't be any censorship. Because then it's no longer honest. And what is the point of sharing what you're thinking through words if you're not going to be honest about it?
    As much as it has pained me, I have kept a lot to myself because I didn't want to have the people I already know think of me differently because of what I might say. And I have kept the existence of this blog and some other writing I've done a secret from certain people for that same reason. I wanted to be able to say what I thought here, and certain people might disagree. I welcome disagreement from you, dear readers, because I know that 9 times out of 10, if not more, I am completely full of shit. But I'd rather not have to argue with the people I see and speak to all the time because of some ridiculous hypothesis I put forth here.
    One day, I hope, what I have to say will be open and available for everyone, and I'll take the flack for it when that day comes. But for now, I'll write for you and for myself, and not worry about what judgment you may pass on me because of it.
The pen is, in fact, mightier than the sword.

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