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.
Side 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 (
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.
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.
- Do you agree or disagree with me?
- Do you think we should allow pseudonyms on the web, or more especially in social media?
- Would you reveal more of yourself if you used a pseudonym?
Please let me know.
I want to hear from you.