Monday, November 24, 2014

What Do YOU Want To Know? Privacy, Disclosure, And Censorship Taken Into Question | A Discussion

Today I want to talk about privacy, what it means and the correlation between safety and being impersonal. Warning: I actually had a blog post that was supposed to go live today, but it's on another computer currently.... a computer that won't wake up, but that's another trauma/drama of mine. 


The definition of privacy is this: "the state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in one's private life or affairs" 


Yet, when posting something online, through a blog post, YouTube video, Instagram Picture, Tweet, Facebook post, or whatever other social media outlet you are using, you have the chance to censor personal information. In a face-to-face conversation, you can't take back or make the other person forget what you said... and if you can, I want to have a serious talk with any blog reader of mine that is withholding the power of mind control from me. Yet, the internet gives you a safety net in the way that, as long as you don't hit "Publish," you can edit and revise what you're going to say/post for as long as you want. Of course, the moment you hit "Send," the entire world can see it (if the entire world chooses to do so) and it will never go away. Come on, don't tell me you haven't seen the multitude of screenshotted snapchats. This discussion is NOT about internet safety, I'm not going to lecture you on the dangers of cyberspace (I'm sure you have a well-meaning elderly person in your life who can do that for you). It is merely about the pros/cons and perception of what privacy truly is.

The tweet below tells you the innocent information that I celebrate Halloween (scandolous) and that I'm on Student Council. There are these little things like this tweet that give people a bigger picture of who I am, and while I'm fine disclosing this.... is it the right decision to do so?


My examples are YouTube specific, but I'm sure (with a little research I don't feel like doing right now) there are solid examples for the blogging community as well. There are the people that choose to disclose their personal lives and people who choose to keep as much of their private life just that - private. 


We have here Bethany Mota and Michelle Phan, the two hottest, biggest, most popular beauty gurus on the internet. Yet, you have to ask yourself, on an exterior, fact-only level of things, "How much do we know about these two ladies?" Combined, they have over 15 MILLION YouTube subscribers, 2.7 million Twitter followers, and 6.3 million Instagram followers. That is a hella lot of people who are interested in what those two succesful young ladies are doing on a regual occasion. I'm sure if I talked to a Michelle Phan or Bethany Mota expert, there would be more trivia, but in actuality, we don't know that much about them.


Then there are daily vloggers like AprilJustinTV and the SacconeJolys. They vlog 7 days a week/365 days a year. If you kept up with them, you would know a ton of intimate, personal information about their daily lives. You know what they had for lunch, where they buy their clothes, what relatives are coming to town, what their children have accomplished. You know a heck of a lot information.


I, on the other hand, am not planning on going all "daily vlogger" (or blogger) on you. In all honesty, that would take waaay too much work on my end to edit, export, and upload vlogs every day or even compose and revise a diary entry of sorts. Yet, I want to find a happy medium (look forward to an entire blgo post in the future about balancing and happy mediums) between you guys knowing every detail of my life. You would probably be bored, because, as hard as it is to believe, my life is not glamorous 24/7 (I've been in my PJs ALL day and am just now beginning to attempt productivity). 


Loving the Language of Literacy is a book blog, but I want to expand it a little more so that you know (the more interesting) events going on in my daily life. If I have had a little success (like winning NaNoWriMo), I want to share it with you, since you are such a big part of my life and who I am. In 2015, I would like Loving the Language of Literacy to be 85% books and 15% writing and other things going on in my life. My blog is a diary of sorts for myself to look back on, even if it's just to point and say, "He He He! You look ridiculous in that video." 


And with that disclosing of information, I have told a little more about myself and made a little more of my personal life public. I could, in theory, go on and on about something that happened without context, but then you would be clueless and it wouldn't be as fun. I know a lot of people choose to keep their personal lives private, but I feel like I need to provide some explanation to you guys when I go missing from my blog for longer periods of time (take November as an example). I have had a lot of things going on this month (in the next post, I will tell you more about them) and not all of them are good/positive.


That's what originally got me thinking about the topic of privacy. Because I could say, "I have gone through so much and I don't owe them anything." Or I could decide to tell you some of it. 


On that note, I will proceed to explain 2 topics that are kind of personal that I am debating about disclosing.

Location: Looking on my Instagram and Twitter, you will know that I recently moved across the country to the state of New York. What you do not know (at least I think, because with "moving brain" it is likely that I have told you my address and how to find me and not remembered it) is what city specifically I live in. When I was in SoCal, I claimed that I lived in Los Angeles. Well.... I lied! *grins evily* I lived in a small suburb of Los Angeles (that is in fact its own city, something I didn't realize until around two years ago). If you saw Instagram pics or knew what was in driving distance of the various booksignings I have attended, then you have a general idea of where I resided. 


Now that I have moved, I have been asking myself, "Do I do the same thing? Tell them the name of the big city closest to me? Or keep quiet and let them guess what mystical part of New York I'm from?" There is also the Instagram concept known as "Tagging" and when people in my personal life tag me in photos, the photo will sometimes say a location. So does that mean I have to create a new Instagram entirely for people to tag me in once in a blue moon? (I created an Instagram purely for book blogging purposes. I'm not the typical teenage girl who posts selfies every hour on the hour)  

Age: This is something I have been seriously considering telling people just to put things in perspective for my blog readers. And every time I think about it, I immedietaly remember the reasons why I HAVEN'T told people my age. Don't worry, I'm not a pedophilic 80 year old man, you have the YouTube channel to confirm that. A ton of people, mostly in their 20s, have no problem whatsoever with disclosing their ages because that is the primary age group of YA book related content creators. For me, age is a sensitive topic because age is often misconcieved for being synoymous with the word "capabilities." There are a lot of teenagers my age are who perfectly capable of maintaining a blog and a lot who aren't because of the effort and time it takes. 

What About You?

Do you think its perfectly fine to give away personal information about yourself such as likes/dislikes, relationship status, proffession?

Do you carefully craft every single Instagram caption so that your followers never know anything about you?

Do you daily vlog and tell people bucketfulls of information about yourself because that's who you are and the people deserve to know this?

What are your thoughts on disclosing personal information and finding balance?

Bonus Question: How old do you think I am?

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