Growing up in a Vietnamese household, I have always been taught to stay quiet, keep my thoughts to myself and to be modest…juxtapose this with ideas like “freedom of expression” and “express yourself” (that I learned in school and through the media), I have had grown up with mixed ideas about what I should and should not keep private.
With the internet bringing on a totally new and mind-boggling vast audience, I have always had reservations about what I put out there for others to see. I have only begun to blog this year…mainly for professional purposes and for personal communications with friends as I started living abroad.
My entry to the blogosphere was largely influenced by by colleagues Jeff Utecht and Kim Cofino who are experts at blogging and sharing their ideas, questions and thoughts online. Through their magnificent work, I saw the benefits of being part of a community of educators who learn together and support each other in their common interests, professional and personal. I wanted to be a part of it too. But unlike other interests, I am slow to engage with my online community of educators, time being the determining factor. But nevertheless, here I am, blogging about blogging and about online privacy, for the world to see.
What I like about blogging is the control that I have (or seem to) over what content is posted and how I wish others to participate. For example, on our grade team blog, I have turned off comments and use it soley for sharing information and learning with my parents. On my personal blogs, like this one, I have turned on comments but moderate each comment to control the content that is posted on my blog.
What I cannot control is what others say about me or my writing in other areas online. Similarily, with Facebook, which I am more weary of, I have seen how content can be posted that I may or may not be too happy with. I can’t control this and really, have not tried to. When pictures are posted, I am sometimes shocked to see that snapshots have made it to the WWW. With digital pictures, no longer are pictures kept private in family albums in people’s homes. (As a result, I have learned not to take myself too seriously. Laughing at myself, is not always a bad thing to do once in a while.)
I understand that often times pictures and comments are posted to share events with others. I also understand that there is a certain element of fun in how quickly and how publicly these can be shared. As a result, I try to not worry about who is taking my picture, or what is being said about me. If things get out of hand, turn inappropriate, or violate my reputation, I am not sure what I would do.
Ideally, my work and worth can stand up to whatever “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” may fly my way.
When it comes to personal information, I am always cautious.
I think it is important to keep in mind that the internet can be used as a powerful tool to share information. The idea of controlling how that information is share, for what purposes and for which audiences, is a little like controlling how a kite flies in the wind…you have some control, but every now and then the wind (like the internet) can take a sudden turn and ruin your run or choose to stop altogether. So don’t throw caution to the wind…be careful.