The private made public December 12, 2008Posted by Emily in blog.
Ever since I decided, about a year and a half ago, to start a blog, I’ve been a bit wary of the medium. I never wanted to have a LiveJournal-style place to ramble and air out all of my emotions and angst. Most of my “deep thoughts” will be permanently contained within my (real) journal, thanks very much. But as time passes, anyone who reads this blog can learn a lot about me, my life, and my way of seeing the world. And mostly I’m OK with that.
But I’ve been thinking a lot about the weird public nature of the internet lately. Even though I made my facebook profile and photo albums private a long time ago, I am still sometimes concerned about what conclusions future employers could come to if they really dug through college photos of me and friends posted somewhere in cyberspace. A friend just announced her engagement–via facebook. And since she was in the UK at the time, it didn’t seem like such a strange decision, even if a phone call from here might have been more fun in a perfect world. I’ve learned of more engagements and marriages via facebook in the past few years than any other medium, mostly high school acquaintances and plenty of people I haven’t kept in touch with. And yet I know things about their lives. It’s really a little odd when you take a second to think about it.
Or maybe it isn’t, and I’m just being old fashioned. I’m one of the few people who still keeps the U.S. Postal Service busy, 42 cents at a time. I look forward to the mail every day, even though all I usually get is the occasional magazine. A postcard makes my day, a good letter, my week.
So it’s funny, I guess, with so much presence online–between this blog, Flickr, facebook, videos posted on YouTube and Viddler, reviews on Tupalo–that I’ve been really hesitating when considering joining last.fm. For those of you who don’t know, last.fm is sort of like internet radio–except each person has their own station. You install this little plug-in and the music you play on iTunes is posted online, as well as information about the artists and recommendations for similar artists you might like. And I love the idea of it. I love trolling people’s stations and listening to new music. But I’m also a bit weirded out by it.
In general, I am OK with my music taste. I don’t have a big secret Celine Dion fetish or a deep, abiding love for the musical stylings of Kenny G. Even though my friend made their video, the “comeback” of the New Kids on the Block this year didn’t really have any effect on my playlist. But if I’m in the mood to listen to Michael Jackson all afternoon, do I want the whole world to know? Or if I go into a Neil Halstead barely breathing funk, should anyone passing by know it’s not been a good day? Even stranger would be any old day, when my choices (sometimes governed by whatever comes up in shuffle, sometimes not) could only be described as a bit schizo. So I don’t know. I’ll have to think about whether I’m willing to share my music choices with anyone out there.
I recently posted a ton of photos on Flickr from my little trip to Butte and have gotten lots of feedback, mostly from hardcore fans of the city. It’s been sort of funny. But maybe all of these thoughts about privacy were brought on by this message I received on Flickr:
Dear Mistress Emily,
i hope that i do not overly intrude. i was randomly roving around flicker and happened upon a photo of the M&M cigar store in my good old hometown of Butte so of course had to pop in and see the lovely Lady’s photos and say hello. Not often that you encounter a world class Lady lingering in Butte and documenting the visit. Please be well and take very good care.
It’s nice enough, but there’s something kind of weird about a total stranger calling you a “world class Lady,” even with the most innocent and honorable of intentions. Right? And hey, I put those pictures up for the world to see. Maybe it’s just the capitalization that weirds me out.
What do you all think? Am I being paranoid? Does anyone really care what music I listen to anyway? Does “world class Lady” seem sort of funky? Does this post have any point?