I’m a Generation X geek. This means that all this web 2.0 and social networking stuff doesn’t scare me (I was on BBSes before the internet y’all), but it also means that I’m not into giving away all my creative output for free or sharing personal details with strangers. It also means that I’m experienced enough to know that stuff I put out online can come back to haunt me (there are net news posts from 1988 that I can still find in searches that make me cringe). So, I give a thought to what I put out into the inter-ether.
With all that in mind, it is a bit tough to figure out what is appropriate to post on all the various social networks that I am continually dragged into and websites that I have (like this one). After some serious thought, I think I’m figuring out a taxonomy that works for me: I post nearly no personal details in public forums. That may not make sense given that you are reading my opinions right now on my blog. However, my opinions are free to the world, the details of my personal life are my own business. You want to write a blog about the intimate details of your personal life, that is great. I just like to choose who I talk about that stuff. Reading this blog, you can figure out a lot of what I care about and you can see who I am as a person, but you don’t really know me (unless you know me). That means that if I share those details of my life with you, it is a statement about our relationship.
Sites like Facebook are a bit different. There, I have an explicit trust circle that can only see details once we are connected. I really like this. I only add people as friends on Facebook if I really know them off-line. This means I can share more, although I still have to be careful because of the mixture of business and personal contacts in that environment.
The way I use twitter actually surprises me a bit. I put way more personal stuff into twitter than I do in other social networks. This is weird given how public my tweets are. However, with Twitter, the messages are so short that they are pretty meaningless without the context of a personal relationship. So a tweet may be meaningless to someone that doesn’t know me, but provides fascinating details to a friend.
These are just some of my thoughts that have been evolving around this. I’d be interested in hearing what other people’s takes on this are. Especially from my generation or older.