I’m taking a class right now where we had to read an article called: Be Who You Want to Be (Ellis). The article mentioned that Kim Moldofsky has tried to separate her online-offline identities, but goes on to insinuate that this generation is more willing to give up personal information than previous generations (37). I can’t speak for a generation, but I know that this isn’t true for me. My personal information is enormously private to me, and it is my opinion that it shouldn’t be handled by the reckless hands of the internet. I fall under the #3 camp mentioned in my instructors wrap-up, “Those that engage in social networking but have ‘tried’ to limit public information (by keeping a close watch on FB’s ever changing privacy settings)”.
For a long time, I was without a FB account. I had one way back when it was new, but after a few years it became flooded with games and advertisements and I grew bored with it, and I de-activated. A year or so later, I tried again. Making a new account, but this time I flooded it with misinformation. Fabricating a whole false history. Name, location, employment, interests, it was all outrageously fake, but that didn’t seem to bother any of my new online-friends. I ended up de-activating that account too, after a bad breakup, just over a year ago, in an attempt to purge myself of my psycho ex. I didn’t use it much for anything real, so I didn’t miss it. I hardly ever posted, and 90% of what I used it for was to RSVP to events.
I made a new FB account just for this 1 media class, finally using my real name, and I find myself being overly cautious about what I post. I am almost refusing to post any personal information there. Outright refusing to select my school, or place of employment. George Herbert Mead was all about how the ‘self’ is created from society, how the social ‘me’ is a generated projection of who ‘I’ am privately. I personally believe that I am only free to explore my ‘self’ when I am free from societal expectations. In so many ways, I was the most like myself online, when no one knew who I really was in-person. Now that my FB accurately reflects my legal identity, I feel utterly restricted. As if my digital accessibility will lure crazy people to my front doorstep, because I was foolish enough to post my name and where I worked/lived.
I saw a classmates posting which said something about the importance of ‘being cautious about their posts’, and ‘not wanting responsibility for constantly up-keeping privacy settings to limit who can see what’, which led me to believe that IF majority of ‘reasonable’ people have this concern about social media, then the people who are indiscriminately posting every little thought that crosses their mind are not ‘sensible’ enough to consider the ramifications of their actions. They are essentially ‘senseless’, and they are cluttering up the social media with their many senseless ramblings. This micronews is mentioned in the Ellis article, ‘be who you want to be’, and said to be corroding our capacity to determine the important news from the unimportant (40).
My personal opinion about social media, is that it isn’t essential to my happiness. I have long since worked in a facility where phones/internet are not allowed, so I have been conditioned to view social media as a luxury [or non-essential].