Sunday, May 31, 2009

Openness?



Well when I said I was going to blog about openness I thought I would have something important to say. Something profound and meaningful. On the cusp of a crisis of conscience I was faced with a dilemma – do I impose on myself the kind of diplomatic censorship I accept as my due on the Northlands? There I am providing a service to a community and were I to be open there it would be a community of one, so I hold my tongue (mostly) and give others the floor. On the rare occasions that I have opened my mouth I have lost members but then I closed it again and they came back.

Recently I have been confronted with my blog’s power to offend and possibly hurt others. As this struck me I felt I had a choice:
1) I stick with the ethos of openness and honesty
2) I consider poor passersby who might read and (rightly or wrongly) see themselves in my words and moderate my tone
3) I stop blogging

I actually went offline while I considered this.

Oddly enough at the same time others in my blogging circle were faced (whether or not they saw it in the same light) with a similar dilemma. How much responsibility do you have over what you write (and read) in the Great Online? Should we guard against the temptation to be ruder and more obnoxious in our opinions here than we would face to face? Are we entitled to disregard the feelings of others just because we are a channel they have willingly tuned into? Is it so much easier to be cruel when you don’t have to watch your victim’s reaction; see their face fall or watch a shadow of annoyance and anger flicker across their eyes? Of course it is. But, if the courage of online anonymity or distance is false courage then what of e-openness - is that false too?

Yeah, and I thought I had something profound to say. Ha! How ridiculous I was a week ago.

Or maybe I have. Kind of. Just not in the way I expected.

As often happens I find it easier to make a point with the help of an image. You see that honest and open photo of me at the top of this post? That is me at work today… early Sunday morning, no make up, looking at the camera saying “This who I am, as I am, no frills and no fakery”.

Do you know how many attempts it took to get an image I liked?

Seven.

How open is that?

Really, if we wanted to be open and honest, the internet is the last place we would choose to express ourselves. We are here because we are attention-whores doing our best to make ourselves look good, or at least interesting.

In conclusion? Believe nothing. Openness is a myth. Honestly.