Maybe I’m the one who doesn’t quite “get” the interwebz, but within my own understanding of the world of social media and “digital footprints”, there is but one simple rule I try to apply:
CONTROL THE FLOW OF INFORMATION
Variations of this rule include:
- Say where you’ve been, not where you’re going.
- Airing of personal grievances is meant to be done in the home as part of the traditional Dec. 23rd Festivus celebrations, not publicly on Facebook/Twitter.
- It’s okay to share YOUR story – but not everyone else’s.
Am I paranoid? I’d like to think not.
But do I value my privacy? Of course. There are people who have ‘selective hearing’… and there are those of us who choose to speak/write a bit more selectively, too.
Now excuse me while I run to the kitchen to re-line my tin foil hat. Oooops! Looks like I just broke my own rule by saying where I’m going and not where I’ve been. I digress…
Case study #1: As the saying goes, empty cans always make the most noise, metaphorically, literally and virtually. Without naming-names, I’m sure you can think of a politician (or all-of-them) who tweet, talk or otherwise communicate too damned much. Quality communications > quantity. (Hopefully my 4 year break from this blog brings a return to the quality of writing I’m working to achieve.)
Case study #2: In the fit-biz (as I’m sure there are in all industries) there are well known marketing ‘gurus’ who use details of their personal/family-lives to create “personality in copy”. Over the years, I’ve watched one in particular share everything from his children’s full names/birthdays/school activities, his wife’s/mother’s maiden names, etc… Soooo much information, in fact, that if one really wanted to hijack his identity (or any of those close to him, for that matter), I don’t think it would be all that difficult for even a weekend criminal-hobbyist to piece together enough of the puzzle to get the job done. I realize that family relationships are part of everyone’s life (for better or worse), but do you want people to know your family’s personality… or your own?
I recently finished reading Bruce Dickinson’s autobiography, “What Does This Button Do” -and it was unlike any other “tell-all” rock star memoir I’ve ever read. Sure, it had plenty of personal experiences and anecdotes of Bruce’s life in Iron Maiden… and as a pilot… and his fight with cancer… to keep me hooked (admittedly, it doesn’t take much to keep me interested in anything Iron Maiden-related), but as Bruce explains in the Afterword, “I made a personal executive decision when I started to write. No births, marriages or divorces, of me or anybody else.” Unlike so-called reality TV which depends on drama (real or fabricated), nobody was thrown under the proverbial bus just to create media buzz so he could sell more books.
Or as Neal Page (Steve Martin) says to Dell Griffith (John Candy) in “Planes, Trains & Automobiles”, “When you’re telling these little stories, here’s a good idea… HAVE A POINT!”
It really does make it so much more interesting – and meaningful – for the