People are peculiar critters. We all have things that are part of our nature, things we’re not proud of, so we don’t generally want these characteristics observed by others. We put a good face forward in public, when we think we’re being observed. When we think we’re not being watched – when we believe ourselves to be anonymous – we feel like we can relax and just be ourselves.
The way that we determine whether we’re anonymous is a bit faulty, though. How often have you seen someone driving a car, and they’re busy doing any number of offensive things, from picking their nose, to texting while driving, to giving other drivers the finger. It’s almost as if they think the windows they’re surrounded with are one-way glass (I wonder how many times this attitude leads to road- rage…)
There’s an internet version of this anonymity online, in social media. People get out on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, and they think they’re only talking to a select group of friends, when instead so many other people can see it (including prospective employers.) You should be aware of your potential audience, and behave accordingly.
I try to avoid finding out about the seamy (or at least less than appealing) quirks and beliefs of people that I’m casually acquainted with online (don’t let facebook fool you – those hundreds or thousands of people you’ve never seen anywhere but online are NOT your FRIENDS.) I’m online for casual conversation, not deep, meaningful relationships. And because I know that everyone has skeletons in their closets (and often forget to keep their closets closed), I try not to look too hard.
Of course, every once in a while, I do look, and the closet is open, and I see things I wish I hadn’t. Recently, I discovered that someone I thought well of has a rather low opinion of “people like me.” I won’t say what exactly qualified me as “one of those people” – except to say that I am. I suppose it never occurred to them that “one of us” might actually see the posting, that maybe they were so caught up in their echo chamber that they forgot who else might be trying to socialize with them.
As a rule, you should be more careful to put your best face forward, because that privacy you think you have is a rather insubstantial fig-leaf.
William Mangieri’s writing – including his most recent publication The Last Three ‘Things I Could Get Out of My Mind’ – can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books): https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=william+mangieri&sitesearch_type=STORE
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri