Monday, 14 May 2018

The Internet Age

One of the things I've always been aware of, and tried to manage in what may only be a token way, is not revealing too much information about myself online.

Like some of you, I've been online, or using the internet, or whatever we say, for far longer than FB has, or even google.  I've been online since the days of BBSes and chat rooms and dial up.  (I know, some youngster just gasped, right?)  And in all that time, I've always wanted to keep my *self* self as private as possible. 

Perhaps it stems from starting out all those years ago (decades???) when it was new to all of us and it was half expected you were lying.  (ASL?  Female, 22, Los Angeles cuz doesn't that sound way cooler than whatever else?)  There also wasn't much in terms of photo sharing back then... too much bandwidth involved... or something like that, it wasn't really a thing. 

I know when Facebook gained traction and popularity people were all excited to find their friends from highschool they'd lost contact with, or something like that.  I?  Wasn't.  I was happy to be in a different town and away from that.  And I had addresses and emails for the few I did want to keep up with.

When I started a blog, I didn't feel like having people from highschool, or work, or family reading whatever stupid, or private thoughts I wanted to share, so I made an anonymous blog, just like all of my other online ventures.  I've talked about it a fair amount here, but I always made an effort to write AS IF everyone in my life would or was reading, and that meant there was a lot I kept to myself.  Most notably work, I suppose.  Because, yeah, I was also online for the start of the blog explosion.  And I watched people get fired from their jobs because of what they said on their blog.  We still see that with blogs and FB posts, but when I saw it happen "way back when", I made a mental note to be mindful.  I think more people should be really.  I mean, so your boss sucks and is a jerk.  Do you complain about them in the breakroom?  Probably.  Might that get back to your boss and get you in hot water?  Possibly.  But, to me, to post publicly "my boss is a jerk" when your profile lets everyone know you work at the McDonalds in Hovertown, well, that's going to get back to your boss, and you'd better hope you're ok with having that conversation.  "Yeah, Steve, you're a jerk of a boss and I've already talked to HR/corporate about it, I should have told you to your face first, but then I'd not have gotten those sweet, sweet internet karma points, you know?"

Anyway, I digress...  I've had a hard and fast rule about not talking about work.  To give myself another layer of supposed anonymity, but also to protect said work as much as possible.  Because yeah, I've had bosses who were jerk-like, etc etc but I don't think airing that publicly will change anything, and would just make matters harder and uglier.  But, man oh man, work has been such an integral part of what's to talk about in my world I kind of backed myself into a corner.  And then things in my life got weirdly worse and harder and I kept feeling backed into that corner... even Jason clearly said "don't blog about this, it'd be a bad bad idea."

Jason, I have to hope, may have been overly cautious, but nevertheless, it's been a long while since I've written openly about my life, which means not much writing at all.  (As I've mentioned repeatedly, hi!)  And as I've mentioned a few times over the last while, I'm still trying to find a way to open up and talk about .... things.  But it's more of a big deal in my head than I'd like it to be.

But I also know there's a freedom in being honest about being human.  And that being honest also allows for connection, and I've discovered over the years, can also lead to helping others feel a little less alone.  Which is such a lovely, unexpected feeling.

But for me, unless there is a financial need for it (ie, I become a published author and so need to have my face/name out there, etc) I won't be starting a website blasting my name/photo... ASL, you know?  And if I do, at some point, choose, or am "forced" to put myself out there, I imagine I'll hate it and will cringe and wait for the sky to fall and then after a while, notice that no one really cares.  (I figure)

Still... the internet age is weird.  I'm not thrilled to be living in it, although I *am* thrilled to have existed before it.  It's confusing to me how many people are seemingly surprised and shocked by the revelations of this "data breach" or that "information loss" and are horrified at just how much we are tracked.  And how much about our lives is known.. in databases all over the world.  Sure, it's cute to see photos of your puppy and for us to connect over a band we both love, but... well, anyway, this is more of a discussion than I feel like getting into on a Monday morning, you know?

Not sure what the point was of this post, I think I got carried away on a train of thought or two somewhere in there.

Have a good week, y'all.  I hope to talk to you sooner rather than not, but no promises!


Jason Langlois said...

It does feel weird to think back on a time when you weren't constantly commodified based on your "anonymized" data.

Victoria said...

And bums me out to think there are a large number of folk who think that's "just how it is"

Jonathan said...

I've changed my mind SO many times about writing anonymously or not. I remember the early days too - when blogging was "the thing". Now it's almost forgotten, and we are almost unicorns.

Victoria said...

True that Jonathan!