Last night I had a great conversation about the road we are all traveling with social media and the dangerously thin line of private vs. public.
We talked about many things, but one topic that came up that we all agreed on, was the sheer speed and quality (or lack of) information we all share online and how exciting and terrifying it can all be.
It was unanimous that the line between personal and private has been crossed by nearly everyone online. (Save for a generation of older family members or blissfully tech lite/free folks that simply have no idea that their techie tattletale friends/family members are checking into their houses on foursquare, taking photo’s of their homes, posting when they are out of town or on vacation.
For some, like those over sharing folks I just mentioned above . . . that line of privacy simply doesn’t exist anymore for them or anyone around them.
The fact that I am writing about that private conversation experience is a great example. I thought long and hard before I decided I wanted to share this and start a public conversation to hear what you think.
We all have met (and maybe even are) the type of person who can’t help but text, tweet or post about what they are doing, who they are with, where they are, and what they have learned and how awesome it is. Heck, I’m one of those people. . . but I am learning to draw clear boundaries for myself.
No finger pointing here. We all have reasons for sharing what we do, eat, where we travel, what inspires us and who we are with online.
The reason for this post is to get you thinking about how you personally are driving your own online experience and whether or not you are getting dangerously close or even crossing your own thin line of private vs. public.
How far are you willing to go? What is private to you? What is acceptable to post or talk about on a public forum?
I began to examine how close I am to my thin line after seeing many updates, tweets and posts by others that shocked or disappointed me. I began to evaluate the amount and quality of information that I was sharing.
I think we all have been torn between sharing something that brings us joy or something that we’re incredibly proud of or happy about and the realization that we are no longer willing to sacrifice a kind gesture, experience or milestone for online attention.
Navigating the online world with our offline life can be more dangerous than sailing the Drake Passage. When you begin sailing the choppy waters of the social expectations of today’s online relationships that go offline – you can easily begin to question whether or not any given ‘so and so’ will make you walk the plank if you don’t post a picture of their gift, note or event.
And on the flip side, have you ever stopped a conversation, meal or movie for “Wait, I need to take a photo of this and share it”? I know I have. Sometimes I’ve been SO buoyantly happy about getting that picture or posting that funny line and other times, . . . well, not so much.
I am still learning that there are some things, gifts, conversations, notes, observations, triumphs and heartaches that should remain offline.
Every day, all of us drive dangerously close to the thin line of private vs. public.
Remember that not everything needs to be shared online for likes, RTs or karma. Especially those small kind gestures meant only for you.
What would you share online?
Would you complain about your job, spouse or a client in a tweet or blog post?
Would you tweet or post to Facebook about a death in the family from the funeral home?
Would you base your next hairstyle on what your Facebook friends/fans think?
Would you share a private note from someone famous just to get a few likes, RT’s or shares?
Would you make fun of someone publicly just to get a laugh or a like from your “friends”?
What about a quick picture of you with a celebrity you ran into at and event or on the street?
Would you post pictures or updates from the altar, the delivery room or of your latest surgery?
Would you have what was once considered private conversations with family or friends in a very public forum?
With social media allowing each of us our own self made audience of family, friends, frenemies as well as mentors, misfits, celebrities, self professed gurus, ninjas, assholes, educators, stalkers, grammar Nazi’s and perpetual pitch men – where exactly do we draw the line of public vs. private?