On Living Transparently Online


Oh, the little white lies.

We all do it occasionally – to preserve someone’s feelings, to get out of undesirable plans, to appear as just a slightly better version of ourselves than we are (job interview, anyone)?

But the era of stretching the truth is over. At least, the era of getting away with it is.

In the exploding digital age, we call it being ‘social’ – but what we really mean is sharing. In many cases, oversharing.

Sharing what we’re doing, who we’re with, where we’re doing it. Via Facebook, Twitter, check ins, photo sharing, videos uploaded moments after they’re taken.

Like it or not, things have changed. Especially for a digital native/over-sharer like me – when you’re playing in a space more often, the rules of the game affect you tenfold.

Those tiny, almost-imperceptible lies just don’t fly any more. I’ve been out at a bar with friends who say “Oh, I can’t check in – I told so-and-so I couldn’t do xyz so they can’t know I’m here!” (Disclaimer: I’m not saying I’ve never done it…)

But guess what? Eventually, you’re going to slip up. You’re going to get caught tweeting from the beach when you called in sick to work, or someone from an old job will notice that you beefed up your previous title on your LinkedIn profile.

When someone asks me about privacy in the digital world, my answer is unwavering: There isn’t any. I don’t care what settings you use on Facebook, I don’t care if you password protect that post; once you put it in e-print, it CAN get out to the entire world. That potential is now there. End of story.

So, I’ve adopted a (personal) policy of complete transparency. We preach it to businesses and brands all the time, but what about ourselves?

Nothing goes on the Internet that I wouldn’t want my mom or my boss to read. (I am fortunate in having a very cool mom AND boss, but still.) I’ve opted to live by the code that nothing I put out into the world could ever embarrass me or potentially get me in trouble (big or small). My online life mirrors my real life, absolutely.

It’s freeing, really, to not have to keep track of separate profiles, or privacy settings, or “who’s on this network I don’t want to see this?”

I am living transparently, and it is marvelous.

This post first appeared on Rachael G. King's blog on July 13, 2011.


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