I wanted to write about an increasingly interesting subject for me of late, discussing or mentioning personal information on shared networks or open webspace.
I’ve always been a very open person in my life, too much so people sometimes tell me, but I rather like being that way. It means that you can share your life and let others in to share it with you, building fast connections with people through trust and feeling closer to people through shared knowledge, and personal details. Obviously there’s a downside, sometimes (but thankfully very rarely) I have found people judge you on being so open – feeling as if you’re after something, or being a scared off if they’re a much more closed person. Personally, I think the upside of sharing personal feelings, events and thoughts far outweighs the downside. It’s been the foundation of some of my strongest relationships.
So I’ve been thinking about this in relation to the internet, and social networks and communities. It’s like another step along the scale of being open, as not only are you sharing your thoughts and personal information with your friends and would be friends, but complete strangers too. Also, these thoughts are written down, or captured somehow in order for them to be passed into the network. So it’s not just hearsay anymore, it’s hard written/photographed/recorded fact. Makes it seem so much more important to really think about what you’re “saying” in your networks, and how you “say” it. Once it’s out there, it’s out there!
Are you happy for everyone to know this thing, now and forever? In a world where socialising increasingly happens online and in game, I think it’s a question that people will come across sooner or later. How will you deal with it?
To look at what I mean with a real life example: I am pregnant 🙂 Horay! It is very exciting, and I have been wanting to Twitter my feelings and pregnancy-related-what-I’m-up-to’s for the last 3 months, but didn’t due to the usual 12 week caveat that comes with being pregnant.
However, at the same time I knew I wanted to mention it when I got to the 12 week safer point (ie, now) but I couldn’t work out how, and if I should. I asked a few people and they were the same as me – yes mention it, but what if you loose the baby? Being pregnant is obviously very personal but the happiness and excitement it brings is contagious, people seem to love knowing about a new addition in my short experience, whereas talking about loosing a baby seems infinately more personal and somehow out of bounds. Most likely because it’s so rarely talked about as it’s such a painful experience, and people would just rather not think about it or know it happens. Sharing bad events just seems harder to me, perhaps this comes back to my use of social media tools as a sort of Thayer PR, a happy place where everything is fun and happy. I only talk about fun bits of jobs, not the bits I hate, and I don’t mention depression, just excitement.
Eventually after thinking about it long and hard I settled on this post, a true reflection of the confusion I’ve felt surrounding how much info to put out there in particular about my pregnancy. That way you know it’s been put out there with a lot of thought, and hopefully some of you will share your thoughts on how much of your private life you share on networks that have started off professional and ended up being more personal, with the odd added stranger in there too!
I’d love to hear anyone else who’s been through a personal situation and chosen to either discuss it or not, and if you did mention/discuss personal what was the fallout? Were you glad you did or did it bite you on the bum? All your thoughts on why you do or don’t share personal life events would be really glady received whilst I work out where I stand on it all.
Overall, I feel like I want to share my life, just as I’ve done face to face, but a part of me just can’t help feeling there’s something out there that should mean I shouldn’t… We shall see!