If a tree falls in the forest... does it make a sound?
If someone says something about you and you don't hear it, nor hear it from those who heard it first-hand, that is, you are never wised-up to the conversation.... have the words been spoken?
What happens in today's social media age when someone makes a faux pas? An honest hiccup of judgement, something they deem quite suitable for publication but another individual (the subject, most often likely) feels is highly inappropriate? Can the words be taken back? Unsaid? Unwritten? Unblogged, untweeted, un-...Facebook-statused...ded? Really?
Do we all think everyone is talking about us, or has the potential to, and is that making us paranoid? Are we too precious, too careful, too narcissistic because of the wide range of ways we are now "available" and able to be reached and heard about, talked about, contacted?
"That's why I'm not on Facebook," (the fictitious) she says proudly. "I keep out of all that."
Little does she know, "they" still probably talk about her on Facebook and - more fool her - she has no account with which to log in, befriend "them all" and keep "them" honest while she's at it. But is she really so harmed if she is none the wiser to "their" tattle? And their photos of her that "they" posted on their walls and shared around, all without her knowledge or approval?
"You need to take that off your blog, I did not go there and I was not with her," (the fictitious) he fumes at his friend, the blog owner. "You've taken it all out of context."
Little does he know, the world's blog reading audience does not have eyes firmly fixed on that blog. At that moment. In that hour. That the link to its latest post will be so far down that Twitter feed - just his Twitter feed, nobody else's in his network because none of his friends follow the blog so, therefore, don't get the notifications he gets - he would have missed it had he blinked at that moment. For let's not forget, he's only seeing that post because the link came up on his feed but because he clicked on it AND it involved him and named him, he automatically considers the post too public for "The World" now. Even though nobody knows him.
Do we cringe at being a Nobody? Or do we cringe at potentially being found-out Somebody's? Is the world really that small a place? Or is social media turning us into out of control control freaks about our personal information? And I mean personal as in, common knowledge, the stuff of yesteryear's folklore, not tax file numbers and criminal/dental/medical records. Is it safer to use the word "allegedly" at the end of every statement, or at least every sentence? Just in case? Does that trick even work in the blog/Facebook/insert-social-media-forum-here world?
Put it this way:
Did Barry the Farrier from down Mill Lane get the shits up when Betsy the farm girl told Reginald at the pub about his embarrassing problem? You bet he did. You wouldn't blame him, would you? But see, only Betsy and now Reginald (well, and Barry as well) knew about it. That's as far as it went. Because the world was a smaller place. Without the internets. Oh, and electricity and cars and Google and whatnot.... Today, Betsy has a blog and she uses lots of air-quotes to "allegedly" get her out of any "legal trouble" with "someone whose name rhymes with Flarry" but whom she feels compelled to speak.
Is that fair of her? To decide?
Are there any rights, wrongs, happy mediums here?
If you had to stop writing about people, any people, any situation... what would your blog be like? Serious question. Even if you don't rely on the practice, can you honestly, truthfully say you don't talk about someone (what someone did, something someone said - whether positive or negative, in your words) on a daily or weekly basis? Do you never do it? You'd be rare if you can claim that. But if you could claim it, be proud of it! Huzzah to you! Long live your blog and your friend/family cred! And, have you just considered that serious question and waved it away with a swift "..but that's different when I do it. I don't use names, I never give away my location, I even blog under a pseudonym." How are you any different? How have we judged it fair and okay, when it is not our situation to share?
And please..... don't be thinking I am the pot calling the kettle a darker shade of pale here. I know I do it too. I have been firmly shaken awake and am now being made to smell the roses, thanks. They smell like shit today. Must be in the compost. Good for growth, wouldn't you say?
Does the most damage to relationships occur because of how the fallout from such a skuffle regarding an online faux pas is handled? Have you ever been in a maelstrom of twitterific proportions, whereby what you say - little old you - is classed as public and globally wide-reaching as CNN? Do you sometimes feel that people mistake you for a 24 hour news channel with a huge readership, when the reality is (come on, you can admit it) quite pitiful and about as non-newsworthy as they get? Does it strike you as ironic that the assumption is usually made by those unfamiliar with the vastness of blogs and other platforms of social media who don't realise the great unlikelihood of your blog coming across the computer screens of pretty much everyone they know... unless they themselves point people to it? To make their point of how dangerous blogs can be?
But it still does beg the question: If you don't hear it, if it doesn't come up in your Google reader or on your Twitter stream, does that mean it hasn't been said? And if you do see it written, do you automatically assume the world's online masses are reading that very same thing (or at least, will read it at some point before they drop off this mortal coil)?
Am I asking far too many belligerent rambling questions? They're all rhetorical, please don't attempt to answer any/all of them ('tis your choice if you feel inclined, though). Am I even making any sense?
And finally, a statement:
I swear, sometimes I feel like I should have a head too large to fit through the door, such is the reach and influence my blog has. Allegedly.
- Embracing Infertility: Boys are strong, like King ...
- Survival of the fittest
- I have the most-read blog in the WORLD, people
- Comments test
- One a penny, two a penny
- A question on old posts: Feedback sought please!
- Why I will never be a good jogger
- And just like that...
- "Because getting there is half the fun!"
- Up yours, Dad!
- On the importance of Friends and Online Connection...
- Renovation Rewind reminder
- But wait, there's more
- Warning, warning! First Vlog attempt...
- A dose of reality on a sunny day
- The World: In My End Is My Beginning
- Dejectedly Yours...
- ▼ April (19)
- ► 2010 (265)
- ► 2009 (289)
- ► 2008 (347)