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Philosophical Monday: Is Privacy Liquid? and Tri-Weekly Habit Week 3

secretsshI found this NYT article about the privacy issues on Facebook interesting, not b/c of the Terms of Service contro, but b/c of the claim that over-30 Facebook users desire more privacy than under-30 users. In other words, younger people are used to having their lives on full display, while users over 30 are more uncomfortable with putting their personal matters on blast.

This got me to thinking about privacy in general: how much of it do you need and do you feel that your right to privacy is constantly being violated?

As a blogger who uses her real name, I’m obviously more comfortable with living life in a less private sphere. I had a habit of being overly forthcoming as a child — for example if my parents got into a fight, I would tell everyone that they got into a fight the next day at school. My mom managed to break me of this habit with a vague explanation of how you shouldn’t tell people everything, and for the next 10 or so years I kept my own counsel, but as soon as I was out of their house, I reverted back to that childhood habit so quickly, that looking back on it, I wonder if I was aggressively denying my natural instincts for that decade, not just dutifully following my mother’s instructions.

Call me an oversharer, I just don’t see any reason not to talk about most things — especially when it comes to myself. I hate feeling stigmatized or feeling like a need to omit certain aspects of my life or personality in order to conform to society’s standards. In fact, I kind of use secrets and shame as a life barometer. If I have too many things going on in my life that I’m not willing to talk about, then that’s bad. If I’m feeling shame over something I’ve done, I should either admit it or examine it. This is why I talk freely about IVF, depression, and of course all of the random stuff on my mind.

So I don’t require a lot of privacy, however, I do have a few rules about sharing:

1) I don’t share my friend’s and family’s private matters in a public sphere without permission, even if those matters affect me. I consider that a violation.

2) If someone asks me to keep what they tell me a secret, it’s kept a secret. Period.

Basically, I’m not a private person myself, but I’ll never go to school and tell my second grade class every detail of my parents fight.

I realize that the instinct to report that fight in the first place, was probably a clue that I would eventually go on to a career in (mostly journalistic) writing. For whatever reason, I’ve just always felt that “the people have the right to know.”

And I plan to take an answer-all-questions-honestly approach with my children. For example if Betty is old enough to ask why there’s a picture of her as an embryo in her baby book, I’ll give her an age-appropriate explanation of her conception through IVF. Same goes for Santa Claus.

But of course that’s just me. I’m interested to hear about where you draw your privacy lines and why. Do you like me, have formal rules? Let us know in the comments.

Tri-Weekly Update: “Kind of situation” is nearly dead, but writing for 2 hrs and 40 minutes every day wasn’t working out. I’ve gone back to 1 hr and 20 minutes a day, and I feel good about it. My writing limit is less than I’d like it to be, but an hour and 20 minutes a day is nothing to feel ashamed of, and I’m still on target to finish the rough draft before the baby is born. A lot of having a good writing life is being satisfied with what you can do, not killing yourself to match what other writers do.

. photo credit: Kristina