Privacy. It’s something we talk about so much more now that the internet is a part of our daily lives. Do we dare share photos of our kids? Our lives? Do we share real names? Do we tell internet strangers where we live? How much connection is a good thing? How much should we share?
I’m a notorious over-sharer (I prefer the term, “open book”, mind you). With me, there’s very little I’m unwilling to discuss, but even this is within reason. There are parts of my life kept private, as I think is wise for everyone, though I don’t feel it’s at all my place to decide what’s reasonable for others to share. I strongly believe that it’s through these “overshares” that we’ve been able to connect with people around the globe, and I truly cherish those connections.
I struggle to find a balance with sharing the lives of others in my online life because the reality is that not everyone around me is comfortable with my presence here. It’s a foreign concept to many that I’d so willingly share my life with people I’ve never even met.
There’s a give and take, you know? I’ll share my troubles with being a mom, but I had our last house’s address blurred from Google Streetview because I just found it so creepy. I talk about my kids’ lives, but often skew the details of things we’re doing so as to be less easy-to-track-down. Trust is earned, and all that.
I deleted an old blog of mine, knowing well that, really, none of it is truly gone, but at the very least it’s harder to find now, you know? I do my best to swipe dust over my old steps, to erase the silly things I might have written a decade ago, to remove myself from old screen names and avatars. I often read in silence instead of leaving comments so there is less to trace to my name.
And I know that many who read my blog do so anonymously.
This is for you, hiding in the shadows of anonymity on the internet: nothing you do in this public space is really private. Nothing you say, no digital footprint you leave, nothing. So, hello: while you’re pretending not to know the things I discuss on my blog, I can see your digital footprints here, long after you leave. Wherever you go. Silent or not, you leave your mark here. IP addresses are an interesting thing, and even emails can be traced, did you know that?
So be kind, act with good intentions, be the person you’d like the world to really believe you are.
I spy, with my little eye. . .