Thursday, November 5, 2009

Do you know what you are doing?

Someone dear to me once confessed that, for them, reading my blogs was the easiest way to find out what was on my mind that week. Touché.  At parties, I have had random people walk up to me and tell me that they read my blog and/or forward it to their friends and family overseas. I am grateful to everyone who takes out the time to indulge my “Rants of the week,” but it also makes me conscious of what I post. Not the honesty in my tone but some of the topics I discuss. I concede that I can’t control who reads what and how they interpret my words, but I can control what I post. Normally, as a writer, I wouldn’t care about people’s opinions on my thoughts; but as a marketer, if it affects my professional life, I can’t afford to be apathetic. For instance, I might blog about my disenchantment with the heartlessness of corporate America, from a social and philosophical point of view, but I would never divulge details about my own workplace. That’s asking for trouble.

Talking about sharing. I have always wondered about people who friend their coworkers, on Facebook, and permit them to see every ounce of information on their profile. Unless you implicitly trust these coworkers, all I want to ask is “Really?” Because not all coworkers are friends. Everyone has a paycheck to earn and a butt to save, so why would they think twice before outing you? Someone I know had called in sick the other day. Their so called dear friend (colleague) showed me this person’s status update on Facebook. Guess what? This “sick” person was vacationing on sandy beaches in Mexico and not lying in bed, at home, with a fever. Funnily, the tattle tale couldn’t resist the urge to comment on their “sick” friend’s status update or fill me with details. So much for friendship. 

I know of people who were asked to delete their Myspace page and Facebook accounts, by their employers, because they didn’t have the maturity to channel the flow of information from their brain to their fingertips. Be it posting about their company’s new product, before the launch, or their drunk-at-4a.m-with-a stranger-in-a-bar pictures, they lacked the maturity of who saw what. Seriously, there are “privacy settings” options that Facebook allows. Embrace it. It’s free. Your boss doesn’t need to know about your weekend escapades.

Another element of social networking that boggles my mind is the dissipating boundaries between generations. At least for South Asians, we grew up with a culture of discreetness and boundaries. There are certain deeds South Asian elders won’t commit in front of their younger generation and vice-versa. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. That’s the essence of what we are about. But all of a sudden, with the liberated social media, the human eye is inflicted with an overdose of personal information. It’s progressive to have an intellectual debate or respectfully joke with people from the older or younger generation, but sharing your inappropriate Halloween pictures doesn’t put you in the suave category! Aunts and uncles and parents witnessing their kids’ semi-nude photos and commenting on them is revolting. One can be friendly with the younger or older generation and vice-versa but not become best friends with them because it is weird and unhealthy. Go out and socialize with people your own age. Get a life!

Quite frankly, I like people’s ability to possess multiple personalities: One for work, one for your friends, and one for your family. These are different facets of you that cater to different aspects of your life. I am not about lying, but I don’t think everyone in my life needs to know how I spend every moment of my day. Every relationship has its own special place and information can be channelized accordingly. And for those emulating and blaming the west, grow up. Cultured and educated people, universally, know the art of communication and perils of information over-share.

More until next time.



Copyright © 11.05.2009

“Breathe. Know that the Internet has no eraser.” - Liz Strauss


S said...

Couldn't agree more!

Rujuta said...

totally agree with you...