If YOU'RE Not the Boss of Me... Who Is?
Last week, blogger Joyce Dierschke asked a not-quite hypothetical question: Do you censor yourself online? Her example, of whether or not she should have re-posted a link to a (biased) political video that she personally found amusing, encapsulates a question we all ask ourselves on a regular basis:
When I'm online, am I allowed to be me?
The answers to the question are (if you ask me) far too complicated, because they can only be revealed by first determining who you are AND what you believe.
Some Things to Consider About Who "You" Are:
Are you a person or an employee?
Are you a brand or an individual?
Are you more concerned about being authentic or about getting paying work?
If a potential client decided they didn't want to work with you because of something you said or did online -- essentially, because of who you are (and the judgment they believe you display) -- would you regret the action in question?
Are you using the internet for communication or self-promotion?
Is your belief system permanent, or does it evolve over time?
Would the person you are today be embarrassed or ashamed of anything you did 10, 5 or even 2 years ago?
Are you steadily advancing toward a specific goal, or are you exploring for the sake of experience?
Do you expect greater integrity from others than you do from yourself?
Does transparency trump ethics?
Forget Big Brother -- EVERYONE'S Watching
Every decision we make online is a personal decision, undertaken privately (or so it seems) yet available publicly to anyone who knows how to look for it. Classic concepts of privacy, identity and "the self" are in flux now due to the web's multiple layers of "personal branding" and anonymity. And while Jonah may have believed that God could see him even when he was inside the whale, Jonah also never had to deal with recruiters scouring his friends' Facebook accounts for all his potentially incriminating kegstand photos.
So before you start censoring (or uncensoring) yourself online, perhaps you should first figure out who YOU are... and who you answer to.
Image by amanky.