The Battle Between Public & Private
After many conversations over the last three years about blogging, I am reminded again about the lines between public and private online. This is not a new dilemna. The news is riddled with stories about “private” spaces online; as is an entire section of digital research. But as someone who maintains an online space, the battle between public and private is an ongoing and sometimes seemingly uphill one. I started blogging as an attempt at articulating ideas that were inspired by my undergraduate classes. I was hoping for some sort of public response to what I was thinking – hoping to engage in debates that would further an idea or send me in a different direction.
After about a year of blogging and perhaps a total of 15 comments, my blogging style changed and became a lot more anecdotal, often offering tidbits of my personal life without naming names or specifying locations. But eventually, as bits and pieces of information were divulged, a personal ‘professional’ bio included, my online space had become linked to my personal space. I even had an old friend email me after 12 years, saying that he had read my blog and put all the pieces together to figure out it ‘must’ be me.
What is interesting to me now, three years later, is that I am often torn that I cannot retract what has been put out there. Yes, I can go back and delete my posts. Delete the blog and fold up shop. But somehow, that seems counter-intuitive to what I have done over the years. To what I feel I have accomplished through this space – and maybe I should spend some time trying to articulate exactly what that is. As I spend more time online, as my research and interests meld into my passtimes and hobbies, I am finding the line between public and private content harder to see. What I think is an interesting issue to blog and think about is often tied up in knots with my personal life and other people.
So, what is my solution? To let the blog go? To solely post informative links relating to “work”? What bothers me the most is that even when I am trying to stay ‘professional’ and distanced, what I choose to blog, and who and what I choose to link is as telling in terms of my personal and perhaps private being as it is a proclamation of a very public self.