Like many others of my time, I spend a fair chunk of my real life online. I’ve been mulling about Privacy, abut our private and public selves. About who we are, who we project ourselves as, about how much of our privacy we cede away to the notions of convenience, entertainment, and security. Our governments spy on us, as do our smartphones, and corporate entities. Here are links to what Facebook and Google do to us and our information.
I’ve been aware of it for a while, because years ago, I spoke of divorcing Google. Haven’t done it, of course, merely deleted a few apps, and turned off access to my phone’s microphone, camera, and photo gallery. But besides the issues of these companies selling us and our data without our permission, there’ also another, more insidious issue, that this article discusses:
One of the great fights of the 21st century will be the fight for privacy and self-ownership, which is also, to my mind, the struggle for literature as distinct from the dark babble of social media. Writers thrive on privacy, not on Twitter, and so do readers when the lights are low. Giving your sentences thoughtlessly away, and for nothing, seems a small death to contemplation, and does harm to the profession of writing, where you’re paid because you’re good at it.
I try not to share too much of how I feel on social media, because writing fiction needs an inner momentum, and I sense that dissipating as I share. I need to be able to speak through my fiction, not just my social media platforms.
On this blog, I share sparingly about my private life, but this blog has been up for ten years now, and that can be mined for a fair amount of information and emotion. When we visit a blog over time, we tend to gain a sense of the blogger’s persona, and in some cases, their characters, lives. I blog as myself, but many bloggers and authors use pseudonyms, for a slew of reasons– and they are successfully able to fictionalize themselves.
We can be whoever we want to be, and share as much as we want with as many as we fancy, but that is not without its perils. From time to time, we addicts might just need a social media detox.
How has the internet affected your notions of privacy? Your reading and writing habits? Your idea of who you are? How do you interact on social media? Are you concerned that your information might be used without your permission? Has being on the internet affected your creativity?
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