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How Transparent are you Really

If I was your real world friend or neighbor down the street I’ll bet there are skeletons in your closet that you’re not revealing to me. I don’t know about you but my neighbors don’t tell me every naughty thing they do, their birth dates, where they bank, their finances, who all of their friends are, where they hangout, shop, etc.

In fact, I would say that our online friends are more like our real-world neighbors, don’t you think.

If they were able to go around town (in the real word) with a bag over their head they would probably be inclined (or less reticent) to reveal more about themselves because they know that nobody could pin it directly to them.

Now back to the virtual world — not too long ago I read a research paper that said anonymous blog comments were the best comments because they felt more comfortable to reveal their true feelings. Shocking isn’t it?

What I’m talking about here is the relationship between privacy and how we conduct ourselves in public.

El-ZorroSide note: As I was writing this post I had a childhood memory of when I was a boy and dealing with my need to feel macho that was conflicting with my new fascination with girls. I was too proud to admit that I liked them so I put on my halloween El-Zorro costume and road my bike around the neighborhood chasing the girls with my plastic sword.

So who was that masked man, er … boy? It was all good fun and the girls loved it. So now you know one of my longest-held secrets. (How’s that for transparency?)

No, I’m not suggesting that we should walk around in public wearing masks or bags over our head but the point I’m making is people who desire some privacy and use pseudonyms on the web are probably more transparent than most of us simply because they can afford to be.

When we feel insulated by a layer of protection we can release our inhibitions and really let our hair down so to speak. And that’s a good thing because I would rather have real comments than the phony kind (like some other blogs that I won’t mention).

I’m more interested in a real opinion than a contrived image.

That’s REAL transparency.

Let’s be honest, even if we don’t use a pseudonym or avatar we hold back and only reveal what we want to reveal. The image that we present of ourselves is carefully contrived. Even if it’s just a pic that’s a few years younger than we really are (nudge, nudge, winky, wink).

Think of the wannabe CEO who poses in a suit with arms folded a-la Fortune Magazine style. (My avatar is an intentional mock-up of that by the way). The rapper (like Zuckerberg for example) with the hoody, or the pretty girl with the vogue look and skirt all the way up to her (censored).

I could go on but you know what I mean. Everybody contrives an image for themselves, cheats a little, puts their best foot forward and holds something back.

In fact it’s one of the first things that we learn when we are kids. Everybody has been burned by someone who we thought was a friend. Loose lips sink ships and all that.

Since my real world friends / neighbors don’t reveal everything to me, why should we be expected to be any different online?  Good question.

Maybe (just maybe) the anti-privacy propagandists shouldn’t be making such a big deal over pseudonyms after all. Despite their best efforts they are in no position to play high and mighty.

So let’s not be hypocrites about this.

And no, Google … not all anonymous users are trolls. Trolls come in all colors, shapes and sizes. Just saying.

So the next time some Google exec/guru tries to tell you to give it all up .. tell them to get REAL. Cause that’s what I’m doing.

Well that’s my thesis in a nutshell. This will be a short post because now I want to know what you think.

  1. Do you agree or disagree with me?
  2. Do you think we should allow pseudonyms on the web, or more especially in social media?
  3. Would you reveal more of yourself if you used a pseudonym?

Please let me know.

I want to hear from you.

Written April 2nd, 2012 by | 27 Comments | Filed under: Blog Tips, Featured Tips, Privacy Tips, Social Media Tips ,

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There are 27 Comments so far to “How Transparent are you Really”

  1. Oh… Man! Put it back in the closet! I didn’t want to know it anyway!

    Until I read your post, I thought we should be transparent online to gain the trust of our readers and new internet friends, but now seeing a different perspective I am thinking most people are only wanting to see some sincerity.

    Although there are always those looking to sniff through any dirty laundry….

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    Reply by: BB at 5:52 pm said...

    @Scott, you mean like this?

    Marketers say transparency is for gaining readers’ trust. According to Google and Facebook transparency is for tracking us to make ads more relevant. The government has its own agenda. Perspective comes down to what side of the fence you’re sitting. But is it real?

    “Sincerity” is for REAL, and if a little anonymity helps then I’m all for it.

    Thanks for dropping by Scott

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  2. I Gus I’m a paper bag wearer to newer online people I meet. I might

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    Reply by: BB at 10:21 pm said...

    @Curtis, come again?

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  3. I am reading your little “note” that says “comments encouraged ( I don’t bite”) and I go…that is so apt especially now a days.

    Where do we draw the line between being open and being private?

    When I first came on line ( not that long ago when I think about it) I was told..NEVER give out information about yourself, because….you never know who is safe or unsafe online ( pretty much the same in the real world by the way)

    Then there was this great transition and more and more people were hearing this word transparent…be open - be real- be credible and the lines got blurred about being safe and being real.

    Of course all the social networks really encouraged this ( some might think it was the marketers, but I have to disagree with that thinking)

    What happens when we go to ANY social network? fill in the profle, put up a picture and you are encouraged ( a mild word when I think about it) to FILL that profile completely so that …hmm people will connect with you, but what are you really doing? You are opening yourself up for the world to see!

    I have had to learn to be a lot less “trusting” because as my wonderful daughter has said more than once..I trust too easily. I now hold back anything and pretty much everything until and only with the test of time, people have earned “MY” trust and then as with any relationship I slowly become comfortable. Does that mean I will still talk about everything..it really does depend on the relationship.

    I remember years ago being told by a wise person, there are two kinds of people in this world.. friends and aquaintances. You will have many aquaintances but your friends will be few but they will be the ones that you can bare your soul. I kind of adapted that one…lol I might not bare my soul, but I will be semi- transparent!

    Online, I make every effort to always be friendly, to be polite and to make all efforts to help people..but will I talk about everything…hell no! Maybe some things are meant to be private..maybe it is O.K to keep some things to yourself1

    You have opened up a great discussion with this topic BB ..thank you for that

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    Reply by: BB at 1:24 pm said...

    @Diane ( Blogneta), “Of course all the social networks really encouraged this (some might think it was the marketers, but I have to disagree with that thinking)”.

    This works well for marketing because data mining works best the more personalized and detailed the information is. And don’t forget the social networks are in essence marketers.

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    Reply by: Jamie at 7:35 am said...

    @Diane ( Blogneta), I agree. It is hard to know the line between open and private. And when I first came online I was discouraged to use my real name, and especially not my last name. Never share your location, or your phone number.

    When it comes to social media, especially in the business world, it is hard to draw the line between personal and personable. You’re expected to be light, conversational and sometimes humorous and find your voice. But then you’re also expected to be perfect, be careful and professssssional!

    I don’t think there is an agree or disagree or a right from wrong with being transparent or not. Social media expectations and social networking behaviours.

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    Reply by: Diane ( Blogneta) at 4:00 pm said...

    @Jamie, what a pleasure to meet you and knowing when to draw the line is a question we are all asking ourselves. I have come to a conclusion and that is just like in the “real” world when we are in a store or any other venue, we learn to act in a certain way and I will call it my “public” face…I am just as real, but good heavens I’m not going to tell anyone my most innermost thoughts..that is just dumb!

    I feel that we have been sold a bill of goods by those who say they know everything ( um..do I dare say “marketers”?)

    How about we start acting as though the virtual world IS the real world and start using common sense and time proven ways of doing things? In the real world we deal with the governments knowing too much about our lives..on the net it’s Facebook,Google+ and all the other communities in between…While I won’t wear a paper bag, I will keep my private life where it belongs..at home and when I go out in real or on here, I will be polite…end of story!

    Um…if I come across a little frustrated, its simply because we are forgetting how to do things, things we have been taught as kids and I just shake my head at times.

    I really hope you come back… BB is a cool guy and has a great way of stirring up conversations…

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke (BB) at 4:35 pm said...

    @Diane ( Blogneta), well said.

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  4. oh…you asked three questions so I better answer them

    Do you agree or disagree with me?

    Answer: At this point, I have to say that I agree with you. What is a name or even a real image.. photoshop is a very cool tool to doctor anything..people have real names and they still can scam, spam and diddly damn a person.

    Do you think we should allow pseudonyms on the web, or more especially in social media?

    Answer: I think that people need to be allowed the freedom to choose. You made a good point to Google…trolls come in all flavors and styles. I will also say that if one is commenting to a person ( to me that is having a conversation) it does help to have a frame of reference as in… “My name is Sue - how do you do?” hmmm maybe not the best analogy…lol

    Would you reveal more of yourself if you used a pseudonym?

    Answer: No because I would still be writing or talking as myself…translate - whether I wear a bag over my head, using a speudonym, the real me will still show through.

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    Reply by: BB at 1:19 pm said...

    @Diane ( Blogneta), “whether I wear a bag over my head, using a pseudonym, the real me will still show through”.

    Well I’m getting away with it ;-)

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  5. I do believe now you can’t say that you have a private life, when you have to update every little thing that you do on Facebook. I wonder what prompts some people to do that. I mean, if you update that you are going to the bank and stupidly say where you are going well you are just putting yourself in danger believe me i know people who do this and regretted it in return.

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    Reply by: BB at 1:13 pm said...

    @John Ernest, no argument here. Thanks for dropping by John.

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  6. Oy. Spot on. You don’t know me, a friend sent me the link. I usually don’t bother with discussions about this topic because I know an era is coming when we will hear a collective “Oh shit…” all over the internet from everyone who fell for the propaganda. But I’ll tell you this, it’s a fantastic way to identify savvy folks. I’m talking about truly savvy folks, not the ones who believe they are savvy because they’ve written some code or surfed websites since before Christ. 95% of the time when I encounter someone who protects their privacy like you do, they’ve been working the ins & outs of this beast for at least a decade and a half, usually more. They’ve seen stuff. They know stuff. I respect that. And I respect them. That said, there are imposters. Real trolls hiding behind pseudonyms. I try not to fault the inexperienced for not being able to tell the difference. I only wish they’d get it in their heads that just because they’ve dropped their underwear on the floor doesn’t mean everyone else should. This is not a show-me-yours-I-show-you-mine kind of game. This is the freakin’ internet.

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    Reply by: (BB) Blog Bloke at 2:04 pm said...

    LOL. Well thank you for driving by Aida, and judging from your avatar you would also fall into the “savvy” category that you mention. It’s unfortunate there is definite agenda out there being perpetrated by Google and Facebook and their marketer minions to convince us all to open up our lives online so they can make more money. Shame on them all.

    I’ve seen trolls and bullies with or without an avatar and it is a bogus argument painting people like you and I with a wide brush. Bogus and misleading because it is really about making their marketing more relevant. It has nothing to do with right or wrong or weeding out the trolls.

    Thank you so much for your entertaining and intelligent comments. Please drop by again.


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  7. The Case for Pseudonyms: How Transparent are you Really? http://t.co/rK9nrwix via @BLOGBloke

  8. New tumblr post: "The Case for Pseudonyms: How Transparent are you Really?" http://t.co/zU2Ws9hl , Blog Tips, Featured Articles, Privacy …

  9. The Case for Pseudonyms: How Transparent are you Really? http://t.co/rK9nrwix via @BLOGBloke

  10. The Case for Pseudonyms: How Transparent are you Really? http://t.co/3LylBOr5

  11. UPDATED: How Transparent are you Really? http://t.co/rK9nrwix via @BLOGBloke

  12. How Transparent are you Really? http://t.co/s9qVlbhs

  13. How Transparent are you Really? (I prefer to be semi-transparent #justsaying ) http://t.co/NVnIZvX9 via @BLOGBloke

  14. @BLOGBloke I left two comments http://t.co/4NCVcebL 1 to comment and the other 2 answer the 3 questions

  15. how would you answer @BLOGBloke's three questions? http://t.co/LuAgW9pc

  16. How Transparent are you Really http://t.co/4hsfe4rk By @BLOGBloke

  17. Thanks for the RT @Kris10sL8 How Transparent are you Really http://t.co/rkw6nxs0

  18. @blogneta Diane, you have a new comment http://t.co/XMOmF7UU

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