Tagged: blog

Authenticity #3 – Privacy Online

Recently I was shown this video from Greg Benson of MediocreFilms on YouTube.

It’s a great video, and I do recommend that you check out the rest of his videos over on his YouTube channel. If you’re someone who is sensitive about foul language though be warned, not all of his videos are as peachy-clean as the one above, although a lot are!

Watching this video made me incredibly aware of the amount of information that we put out online, and that we don’t necessarily know who can actually see that information. I’m pretty sure that it made you think about it too. Apart from being humorous, I’d guess that’s one of the intentions of the video.

The amount of information that we put online is staggering. Our names, addresses, pictures, videos, holiday destinations, birthdays, last night’s dinner… The list is nearly endless. What’s worrying about this is that according to the eConsultancy, only 46% of UK Internet consumers consider privacy an important issue that they consider regularly. Also, that a high percentage of people think that the government, or website owners, are responsible for regulating their own online security – rather than themselves. (Source: eConsultancy Blog)

Private!

With social media growing, we are finding more and more ways to share our lives and also creating more forums in which to share. Obviously being safe online is important, particularly when it comes to card details etc etc etc… But our payment details aren’t the only thing that we need to watch out for, and the video above really highlights this.
Do you follow any pages on Facebook that could access your details like this? That could find out where you live and turn up to your house? Know where you have been on holiday? Know the names of your children? (If applicable, of course) It’s worth thinking about.

Here’s another question though: do measures to keep our information safe and private online affect our authenticity in the digital space?

It comes down – again – to the idea of a ‘photoshopped-self’ online (Thanks to @pmphillips for informing me of this term). By cutting bits out online, we are editing the material that represents us; therefore affecting the possible ways in which we might be viewed by others.
We are changing what people can think of us at conception, therefore restricting the way they that we can be viewed at consumption.

The way I see it, everything that we do online changes the way that we are received, and so editing what can or cannot be seen will definitely influence our online authenticity. It seems to me that there is a balance to be found.
How much do we hold back, and for what reasons? Could this information compromise your safety? Or is it just going to compromise your image?

There’s also etiquette to consider here – could what I’m about to say be seen as spiteful, mean or nasty? Might be best not to put it out there.
Recently I’ve started to think this before I tweet:

  1. If I am replying to someone, I think – ‘Would I say this to this person in a face to face conversation?’
  2. If I am tweeting in general I think – ‘Would I say this in front of a crowd?’ (Assuming I wasn’t terrified of speaking in front of groups, of course).
  3. And finally, I take a minute to look at how it could be read and try my best to see if it could be taken the wrong way.

That’s just what I do. Anyway, I’m sorry again for the lack of definite answers to anything here, but I’m not sure there ever will be any. I hope you enjoyed mulling this over with me.

What do you think?

  • How conscious are you of the information that you put online? Do you know who can see what?
  • In what ways do you try to be authentic online?
  • Any ‘Twittiquette’ tips to share?

I would love to see your comments!

So, Why Blog?

Since the Web 2.0 boom in 2002 web-logging or blogging has taken off massively.

NM incite, a company that monitors social media trends to provide marketing tactics to businesses conducted a survey of the global blogging industry. In their results they showed that since 2006, the number of blogs online has increased from 35 million to 108 million at the end of 2011.

That is a huge amount of blogs. So why do they do it?

I asked Twitter users Tanya Marlow (@Tanya_Marlow) and James Prescott (@JamesPrescott77) three questions about their blogs.

First I asked: why do you blog?

James said: “I blog because I love writing and because I feel like I have a message I want to share with the world. I blog because I want to share my experiences and lessons from life in a way which can really help others. Blogging is an outward expression of who I am.”

Tanya replied: “I started writing because I could no longer speak. I had been made housebound from severe chronic illness, and was unable to work or see friends more than twice or three times a week. I felt like I’d had eighteen months of silence. Blogging for me, was my way of declaring to the world, ‘hey! I’m still here! I have thoughts!”

My second question was: how has your blogging affected you?

James told me that: “Blogging has had a huge impact on me. It has helped me build relationships with people I would never have known otherwise, it has also allowed me to discover more about myself as I have explored ideas and written about different issues. It allowed me to have a positive impact on the world – I am always so encouraged when i hear stories of how my blog has impacted people. It’s allowed me to become a better writer and discover my writing voice. It’s become a way I can use my gifts to serve God. I love blogging, and don’t want to stop.”

Tanya said that blogging has, for her “been a really healing process, emotionally.” She went on to say that: “I think it has enabled me to do something constructive with all the thoughts and debates whirling round in my head. I’ve rediscovered a love for creative writing, and even though it wouldn’t be my ‘first choice’ for doing ministry, I’ve realised it is a powerful opportunity, and it feels like I am still able to use some of my gifts to serve God and others. (I hope that’s not too grandiose! It doesn’t feel that way when I’m writing – I feel like I’m writing because I have to – because I have an idea and I need go get it out – but as I reflect I realise it’s an important way of connecting with God and others.)”

Finally I asked: what is your favourite thing about/ aspect of blogging?

James thought that this was a “Tough question!” but went on to say that “Its a tie between building new relationships, creating new work and discovering more about myself and God. All of these are amazing blessings from blogging – if I really had to narrow it down to one, it would be building relationships.”

Tanya says that she has two favourite things about blogging, one is “the sense of achievement. I’m rubbish at practical stuff, art and craft, but I can shape words.  Perhaps there is something about being in the image of God, and the sense of pleasure at creating something from nothing.”

Her other favourite thing is: “the support and community that comes through blogging. When you publish something, you take a risk. Writing is quite a vulnerable business, and what I write carries a big investment of energy and emotion. If you write a book, there are months between writing it and getting positive feedback; with blogging, it can be mere seconds.  The length of time between panicking, ‘oh no! What if I’m the only one who thinks like this?’ to reading, ‘you too? Me too!’ on the comments is gratifyingly small.”

A huge amount of thanks to both James and Tanya for taking the time to give such genuine, informative replies.
Just from these two responses you get a very positive glimpse on blogging. I love this quote from Tanya, “Blogging for me, was my way of declaring to the world, ‘hey! I’m still here! I have thoughts!”. To me it really demonstrates how much blogging can impact a life. And I for one am glad that they have found their voices, it’s great to read what both Tanya’s and James’ have to say.

Your turn:

Maybe you could answer the same questions?

– Why do you blog? If you don’t blog, why not?

– How has your blogging affected you?

– What is your favourite thing about/ aspect of blogging?

 Tanya runs a fantastic blog, Thorns and Gold. She is unfortunately a sufferer of M.E (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), and has been for over 6 years. Spending most of her time at home with her toddler, Tanya writes beautiful blogs that I very much recommend you check out.

James also has a fantasic blog at jamesprescott.co.uk. James is a great writer whose blog is incredibly encouraging. He hopes to leave a positive impact on the world, and is passionate about encouraging others in whatever way he can.