This is not a “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me” post. In fact, this is sort of the opposite of that meme.
There are a lot more than 25 things you don’t know about me. Guess what? I’m not telling you what they are.
As a professional social media geek, I’m 100% behind the whole “Cluetrain Manifesto” ideal of openness and transparency–to a point. I’m behind it in the sense of not hiding real problems and issues and Stuff People Should Know behind meaningless marketingspeak and spin doctoring. I’m in favor of being honest, at the corporate level and at the personal level.
But I also respect the fact that some things are and should be private.
News flash! I participate in several private, closed-membership online communities. Each closed community I’m involved with is private for some very good reasons. Not everything should be shared.
People participate every day in healing communities, online and offline, where anonymity is a condition of membership. Alcoholics Anonymous, and its many 12 Step siblings, is “Anonymous” for some really good reasons. People struggle with hard things in life. All people struggle with things–me included–and they have the right to the space and privacy they need to win that struggle.
I subscribe to Sean D’Souza’s excellent “Psychotactics” enewsletter. This week’s topic was “We’re all imposters.” The Cliffs Notes version is that most “experts,” particularly in web marketing, are still figuring this stuff out ourselves–and always will be. We learn by teaching, and the learning curve never ends.
How much of that learning curve we allow the world at large to see is largely a matter of personal choice. There are benefits to sharing your own gaffes and goofups, and there are costs associated with it.
In many respects, I’m the bare-it-and-share-it girl. Because I like sharing.
But here’s the deal: there’s a curtain that you, my reader friends, won’t get to see behind.
I write this knowing have friends and family who are quietly appalled at how much personal stuff I disclose online. I also have friends and colleagues who disclose much more than I would be comfortable doing.
And therein is the application for you. It’s a brave new world out there. Social utilities and online communities and tools can connect you to your old high school buddies or your family in Des Moines. But they can’t tell you how much to share with them.
They can help you find a job–heck, they helped me find a job when I wasn’t even looking for one. But they can’t tell you whether you’ll be really happy and comfortable in that new workplace.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide where to place that velvet curtain, and what goes in front of it, and what stays out of sight.