vendredi, octobre 07, 2011

Dignity -- S(he's) got it -- or s(he) don't

In counseling class we've been talking a lot about self-disclosure.

It's a group dynamics class, constructed to help us understand how groups work. We're acting as a group -- and the clear, if implicit expectation, is that we'll share more, become more intimate, as the weeks go on.

I like the folks in the class, most of whom could be my children.

Yet, as I said to the class on Wednesday, I find it restful NOT to reveal a lot. It's a break from the 24/7 domestic drama that is my life right now.

I did share in class that I'm curious by how much people reveal about themselves online now -- often inadvertently. What does disclosure mean in a society where so many of us are letting it all hang out?

What you choose to share in comments on a blog, in a Facebook status update, a chat room comment, or what you dig up from the Internet and offer to readers on a website can tell readers an awful lot about who you are.

Sometimes it tells us that you may be one standard deviation (at least) below the mean (which may be the sum total of what I understand about statistics).

Dreck often reigns over brilliance.

I am a professional discloser. I do that in commentaries, in blogs, and sometimes in tweets (though rarely, nowadays). So it may seem like a contradiction to say that I hope that when I share, I do it with appropriate boundaries.

A few weeks ago, however, I had an experience that chastened me -- and served as a warning. Although it all got straightened out in the end, I learned a lesson about mouthing off in virtual reality. I hope I learned a lesson, anyhow.

We're all being watched by others -- and judged, whether we like it or not. What we say is a pretty good indicator of who we were -- judgmental or merciful (sometimes both), patient or sharp (sometimes one follows the other), joyful or depressed...shallow or deep.

It pays to think before you post -- though we're all probably going to look back and shake our heads at our own foolishness. That's the price we pay for liberty -- the freedom to be stupid -- and the tolerance to let other people do the same.

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