"A word in earnest is as good as a speech"
~Charles Dickens: Bleak House

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

TMI .....

A few things intersected this week that made me start to think about today's blog.

What you may ask could these three things possibly have in common ... our electronic footprint. When combined the three stories are an interesting view of the perils of oversharing.

In the first story a teacher almost loses his career because people took his blog out of context and used his own words against him. It was both a sad story of how hateful cowards can destroy a good person and a triumphant story of how the strong survive.

The second story disturbed me. It started off innocent enough. A friend shared the blog which was entitled "We Gave Up Toilet Paper." It was intriguing, how does one survive without toilet paper. And so I clicked. Much like Miley Cyrus at the VMA  I wish I hadn't. 

My eyes are still burning from both. In the story the author not only explains that her family stopped using toilet paper, she shared intimate details about her sex life and apparent feminine issues that resulted in the family's decision to switch to fabric. I think she could have made her point without the excruciating detail - or maybe put out a warning like a Law & Order episode "This blog contains language that some readers may find disturbing." Of course I am kidding. I am a huge fan of the 1st Amendment and the right of people to share what they want when they want. There are just moments I wish I had not participated in their sharing and that I could get those 15 minutes of my life back.
Then there was the Navy Yard Shooter, Aaron Alexis. What I found interesting in the report about him was that the journalist made it a point to note that there was no real electronic footprint for this individual - no blog, no Facebook, no Twitter. I am not going to rant in this blog about the need for better mental health services and gun control, that is material better saved for another blog. But it is interesting that in this society at this time it is noteworthy enough to mention that this person did not post every minute of every day on social media.
The first and last story made me pause and start to think about my own electronic footprint. I LOVE Facebook and I really am beginning to think I need a support group for my addiction. I post a lot, but have changed my posting habits so the stuff I post now is pretty innocuous:
"To all my FB friends that have insomnia I have just found a cure ..... purchase any text book that explains in excruciating detail basic research design .... followed by a chapter on how to evaluate qualitative & quantitative research.
"TRAFFIC .... ARRRRRRRG! MONDAY ....... ARRRRG! I think that about says it all!feeling annoyed."
Because I am by nature a kind hearted and gentle human being that is all I am going to say about my day. You may of course come to your own conclusions."
And then there are the e-cards (which I love)
All of this seems innocent enough if you know me. But if you didn't it could come across differently. Could I get fired for my views? Could the parents of my kid's friends stop letting them come over my house? And if I died tomorrow - what would my electronic footprint tell people about me. I would probably come off as a ranting lunatic.
I don't think all this soul searching will change my posting habits, or anyone else's. It was just an observation I made while I was in my never ending commute.

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