Let’s Get Personal?

Salted Caramel is asking readers to get personal. Here are her questions:

1. Do you blog under your own name or do you use a pseudonym?

2. Do you share personal details like gender, nationality, race or faith?

3. How much of your personality shows through your writing?

4. Do you share personal experiences to illustrate your writing?

I am not big on telling lots of personal details on my blog because I have a narcissist in my background who still likes to check up on me, and I would really rather that he not find any extra tidbits on how to contact or find me.

An airplane photo, similar to my gravatar.

So, as a result of that, I do use a pseudonym – my actual first name and my grandmother’s surname. I have never bothered to specifically share my race, gender, or faith, although if you’ve read enough of my stuff, you likely will have figured these things out. To me, these things are incidentals.

I definitely share personal experiences, but I try to remove or alter any features that might definitively identify me, so there’s a smudging of the lines.

My blog is me. I don’t try to blur or change who I am, so yes, I believe my personality is here. But the thought that comes up for me when considering these questions is around how much of ourselves we should be sharing.

The online world is funny that way. It encourages people to share, but then, how much is too much? Many people drop off lots of personal information, far too much, I think. They feel safe in doing so. They feel that there’s nothing about themselves that they should hide or keep private. That there’s no need.

Unknowably deep waters.

Until it’s too late and they need to keep themselves private for a very private reason. How do you turn that off? Is it even possible to turn that off?

It’s almost expected that we give up our privacy now, for work, for pleasure, for being able to just operate. And privacy is one of those things that’s precious; it’s been fought for and died over, many, many countless times. Shouldn’t we be a little more protective and respectful of this great costly gift that we have?

I know of people who, through WP, have met and become friends. That’s pretty great. People who otherwise would have never met, especially across oceans and continents, become lifelong chums.

But it bothers me when I’m told that I “should” be using such social media as Facebook and Twitter. For starters that would probably unleash the narcissist. And apart from that, I don’t want to. How much updating and tweeting can one person do? How do people find the time? Frankly, I find a lot of it boring.

I know that information is not only power, it’s money. And lots of companies want us to spill our guts so that they can make money from a raw material that costs them nothing but has the potential to be very costly to us.

They want us to use invasive devices such as Siri and Alexa.  They get into our homes and cars and are inside our heads, mining for gold.

Is there gold in these waters?

I don’t want to live in a society that more or less requires us to have one of these in our homes. Ten years from now, here’s the instruction on the side of a box: You will “need” Siri in order to complete the following task … 

No.

I don’t care if you want to have lots of Siris and Alexas all over your life. However, I want that to be a choice, not a pseudo-requirement that gradually eases its thin edge into our lives and over time evolves into a necessity.

Because of that, I think that these companies should be regulated. I think that AI should be regulated. And sooner rather than later.

What do you think? How personal are you with your blog? How far do you think technology should be allowed to go?

 

40 thoughts on “Let’s Get Personal?”

  1. Excellent piece, and I am with you all the way. (Even though I am a bit guilty of over-sharing on my own blog, but I only do so in the hopes that others might find some small degree of recognition and comfort.)

    1. Thank you Jill. 🙂

      Yes, I like WP as well, and I sometimes forget that it is also a form of social media. Doesn’t really feel like it to me though. 🙂

      Happy Friday – I hope you have a good weekend. 🙂

  2. A post for the times for sure, Lynette. I likely share too much, but have tried to be cognizant of this and adapt with initials instead of names, blurring license plate #s and addresses in my photos and not giving away any info shared in confidence. I also try not to bad mouth people or places. I heard a new concern while in Ireland. My wife’s cousin suggested that photos of young children should not even be posted on line. This can be tough in some cases, depending on how wide a view is taken. As to Facebook, Twitter, etc. I am with you. I have no time for this. You only have to look at how #45 communicates to decide this is not conducive to a calm life. I have seen the wonderful advances of a connected home and wonder when all of this will come back to bite us in the a–. How much convenience do we need (oops, now I just sound old). Being able to turn lights on and off, Google without lifting a finger, find that song you want to hear, etc. just sounds like a way to further deterioration of mind and body. Hell, I still shovel my walks and driveway and smile smugly as I complete twice as much snow removal in half the time as a neighbour half my age with a roaring snow blower. Each person needs to decide for themselves for sure, but in the electronic age, we need to know that most advances come with a price. Cheers. Allan

    1. Thank you Allan. 🙂
      My understanding is that parents have to give permission before schools (for instance) can use children’s photos for any purpose. I think this legislation is soon coming to Canada (or a variation of it) , and I agree with it. It’s a tough line, yes, but given the dangers and concerns around children’s online presence, I think they should be protected until they are old enough to make their own decisions.
      Yes, the conveniences of a connected home are many, but these devices are listening and their masters are making money from us – that’s what I find really irritating, to say nothing of the abuses that could occur. And you’re right, we need to use our brains and bodies more! 🙂

  3. Hi Lynette, I value the food for thought of your blogs. I often hold back from commenting, as I am shy and not one to be loud online or in real life. I began my WP about a year and a half ago and have enjoyed the opportunity to share what I love and believe to be important to my life. I guess in this respect I do share my personality and experiences. I hope to inspire and be informative, and although I have a photoblog, there isn’t a recognisable photo of me. I constantly think about the right balance of what to ‘put out into the world’ and what to keep private, and privacy always wins. Love your blogs that requires us to think… Thanks, Mei (this is my real name) 🙂

    1. Thank you very much, Mei. 🙂

      I am an introvert and it took me a long time to be comfortable with commenting on WP.

      I find that your photos are very communicative. A picture is worth a thousand words, and yours say a lot about you without giving away your privacy. I love landscape photography and its ability to document humanity’s core. Thanks for sharing your photos and commentary – much appreciated. 🙂

  4. I tend to lean towards the more private side of the scale. I do share personal experiences, but like you, still try to keep some barrier there. I have participated in more private online groups where I’m more open, but even then I was still cautious. A big part of my choice to do this is because I have kids at home, but it is also because the world really doesn’t need to know every single personal detail of my life and I seriously doubt most would even be all that interested anyway.

    1. I agree. I’m not particularly interesting or have much of anything that I need to keep private, but if I want to have privacy, I need the ability to make that choice.

      I agree that keeping our children private is really important. 🙂

      Have a good weekend. Stay warm. 🙂

  5. It’s a delicate balance. I travel and write about my experiences, so it’s a lot of detail about my day-to-day life. I try not to post exactly where I am and post after I am established in a new location and know the lay of the land. On my blog I use my own photo because I am my brand. And my personality certainly shows up in my writing, though not the details. I compartmentalize on lots of different social media – politics on one, friends on another, and my blog is about my travels. I agree that people are sometimes too free wheeling with their info. You captured all of this beautifully and respectfully. Thanks for sharing your gift.

    1. Thank you for the lovely feedback. 🙂

      I agree that it is a delicate balance. I want to communicate well and accurately, but at the same time I need to protect myself, too. I think that separating your social media is a good thing, as is establishing yourself in a different location before posting about the last one. I believe that a little prudence is wise.

  6. 1.) If anyone likes to split hairs, Kennynines is a pseudonym. My actual name has a space in the middle.
    2.) As an American white guy, a member of an increasingly disparaged group of people, I think it’s important to stand up and show my face to the world without shame. There are things I am ashamed of,, but not my name, my face, my sex or my country.
    I’m an atheist but not in the way most people think of it. I don’t believe in God, whether God exists or nor. I’m an atheist because I have no confidence in gods.
    3.) That’s not a question I can answer, it’s all up to you.
    4.) I do, all the time.

    1. Great response, Kennynines. 🙂

      Yup, American white guys have been taking some hits, and yes, it’s important to stand up to that. Most American white guys that I’ve met have been pretty decent. Generally, most people are, no matter where they’re from or what colour they are.

      1. That’s very kind of you to say, Lynette, thank you. I agree about decent people. It can be hard to get below the surface, whether because of one person’s lack of desire to let me in or my own lack of inclination to go inside. Mutual understanding will save the world, but it ain’t gonna be easy.

  7. Before I read other comments, I’ll state that I probably overshare in most people’s opinion. But the events are what I know best in feelings. I use my real name, that is, the one I was born with and took back after divorce on most all social media. For me it was if I stopped hiding. I lived with a most dishonest man for decades and who one professional pseudo-diagnosed from my descriptions as a possible sociopath. My children seem to agree with that assessment. I’ve talked about my age, sex, relationship status, race, country or it’s evident from posts. I understand you wanting to stay under the radar of a narcissist. My ex, whatever he may be in psycho terms, has money and a woman to keep him warm and tell him he’s a nice guy, so I’ll never worry about him even giving me second thought. But some exes keep coming back to screw you over. I’m conflicted about advances in technology because I never see them as the end of civilization as many do who pray for a return to something in the past remembering it in glowing terms. But advances do get away beyond things many of us understand and have unpredictable future problems. Thus Internet, Facebook, Iran, Guatemala and every country where we (US) has decided they must be the only adults in the world. Actions bite back. Now I’ll go back and see what others said.

    1. Correction: “decided we must be the only adults in the world.” This is why a person should always read over what’s written. I always do over and over on a post and yet some error always gets through.

    2. You make a good point about wanting to be open after years of having to hide. I’m sorry to hear that you had such a crap relationship.

      Narcissists can try to come back even after years. Mine re-surfaced after five years of no contact. He tried to get in touch through my son’s dad and also through HR at a former workplace – he wanted to know if I would take him back! He still saw me as some sort of possession. I had at the time been starting to relax about my online presence but that experience certainly put me off.

      I don’t hanker after a nostalgic past, but I do think we need to be more circumspect about technology. It has the potential to get really out of hand and it shouldn’t be automatically accepted because it’s technology. I think there are many people who are afraid that they’ll be accused of being old or out of touch if they voice any concerns.

      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  8. I share a lot of personal stuff on my blog. I am on facebook and twitter, but I don’t share personal stuff there. I use my real first name but a pseudonym for my last on all social media. I’m not so worried about anyone I used to know finding me as I am some crazy person not liking something I write and finding me.

    I share personal stuff because I feel like they are good for life lessons and growth, which is the theme of my blog. But, I try not to talk politics or religion on my blog, although sometimes I skirt the subjects. I do use an anonymous name on twitter where I keep informed, research and discuss politics. I don’t involve any friends or family. In fact, no one knows about my heavy involvement there (except whoever reads this now).

    I went on a bit with my answers. 🤷‍♀️ Have a nice weekend, Lynette.

  9. well stated post, and privacy is important. I don’t use a pseudonym and I think I tend to be transparent to a degree certainly. I am glad you protect yourself and that is as you should.

  10. metaphorically you are asking how much people expose themselves to others. Where do they draw the line and why?
    Like snow flakes no two will ever be the same I suppose.
    If someone hides, I suppose they must have a reason.

    1. Very true. 🙂 We are all different and our comfort levels are different. I think it’s important to have the choice, though, and I’m concerned that that choice is being eroded.
      Thanks for commenting and I hope your weather has improved some. 🙂

  11. Excellent points here–and yet, your blog is personal, unique–and with a unique voice–without giving too much away, which is nice. Social media can get overwhelming–and depressing–so I limit myself to just 2-3 things and a small, small audience. I also avoid those prompts on Facebook that ask about your best friend, your pet, etc.–because people could steal security questions from those answers–and I never create passwords or answer security questions that have information about family, pets, significant dates, etc.

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. 🙂

      That’s a very good point about not posting the names of pets, friends, etc. So many people use those names for passwords and security questions – very easy to figure out.

      Yes, I agree that social media can get overwhelming. WP is the only one I use.

  12. This is deep and reflective. I have a personal blog, where I talk about myself, my life, life generally and everything else I find worth sharing. While I think there’s lot of lessons to be learnt from my life and experiences, I believe one can still be private while being personal. I only share things that I don’t mind if people find out or things some people already know about.

    1. Thank you very much. 🙂

      While I don’t really like the caution I have to take in making sure that it’s harder for my ex-narcissist to find me, it imposes a certain discipline that I appreciate.

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