Living in a Glass House

This blog hasn’t lived up to my expectations. It’s not the blog’s fault. It’s my fault. I see innovative behavior change everywhere, but I’m holdin’ out on y’all. Why? It’s really hard for me to live in a glass house online. I’m amazed by what some people share about themselves with the whole world online, seeming without any thought about it.

via philipjohnsonglasshouse.org 

I’ve blogged for many years about hobbies under pseudonyms, and that’s really easy. No one knows who you are. One fellow blogger in a circle of hobbyist bloggers does use her real first and last names online. One day she fired off a post blasting relatives who were reading her blog, then making comments “in real life” to her about things she made and the things she said online. She told them if they’re reading her blog and don’t like what they see, just zip it and don’t say anything to her because it makes it difficult for her to be her true self online. And their behavior was ruining the joy she had for her hobby. Many readers commented, then why the heck are you using your real name online? Anyone can find you via Google in milliseconds. I don’t think the situation was her relatives’ fault. Her free sharing online is an invitation to everyone to join in, whether they type a comment below her post or talk to her at the next extended family birthday party.

You give up much control online. In “real life” you can choose what you say to whom. After that, who that info gets passed to is fair game, but you can call the first shots. Online, we’re broadcasting to everyone from Chicago to Cambodia and everywhere in between. Some people thrive on this (why?) and others avoid the whole game altogether (why?).

Facebook gives controls to make the situation comfortable for all these folks, and the times when Facebook (and Google) mess up are the times when they’re flamed. Blogging platforms don’t give so much flexibility for varying privacy settings.

We all have varying tolerance levels for privacy. I keep trying to grow tall plants to make a “room” behind our house, so we have a somewhat-private patio “room.” Why I’m driven to do this is crazy, really. We have a big backyard on an acre and a half, and neighboring properties are lined with trees and greenery all summer. You can’t see anything. Yet I still feel exposed in this big backyard. The plants don’t grow as tall as I want in our shorter Zone 5 growing season, but I keep trying. I’ll try again this summer. I’m now plotting building a pergola to grow vines on. That oughtta do it!!

I wouldn’t spend a day in this thing no matter how beautiful the surroundings.

Online, there are no 6-foot tall miscanthus or pergolas draped with thick wisteria to shade us from the world. I was reminded of this when the WordPress dashboard showed someone specifically searched for my name under Blog search on Bing. The dashboard doesn’t tell who is searching, it just tells us someone did. So you’re lucky y’all get to stay anonymous. For me, it was a reminder that the online world is a glass house. I’ve always thought the Philip Johnson Glass House would be a house of horror, a nightmare to live in. No way. I’m not a narcissist or attention-seeker who photographs my outfits every day for thousands of people to view and say how great the clothes are. That’s not why I post. As I do in my job, I just want to share and help everyone to think and grow to do what we do even better to make some change in this world.

Can I can get over my need for privacy enough to share what I’d want to share here, I don’t know yet.

Anyone else have this issue? You can comment under a pseudonym if you’d like. :)

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