How Much Transparency Is Too Much?

My pal I miss so much because she works full time and can’t banter with the best of us has decided to visit here again with a spot-on GP (that’s guest post). Please welcome a familiar face from this community and someone I love dearly, Jenn Whinnem (who recently tied the knot in ever so much secrecy without inviting us to the party; look there she is on her special day!).

Jenn Whinnem says:

I lost my glasses recently. They were either in my home, or at the lake on the property. Several searchings of both turned up nothing. Until, a week later, one of my neighbors turned up with the glasses in hand! “My granddaughter found them while she was snorkeling,” she said.

Yes, dear readers, I went swimming with my glasses on. How on earth I managed to do this is still making me worry about my brain.  Now the lenses are foggy and I need new ones.

This, and Danny Brown’s recent hacking, got me thinking about transparency. Please note upfront: I’m not in the habit of blaming the victim, ever. It’s simply not on Danny that someone hacked his account. I’d wager that someone is very sick, but I’m not qualified to diagnose. Whoever this person was, they had a lot of information about Danny and his life. Danny has been pretty open about many of his life details (again, not blaming the victim). And that’s what got me thinking, again.

About two years ago, I wrote a post for Jayme about having cystic fibrosis. Jayme had asked me to write it, and I wanted to help out a friend, forgetting that the internet is mostly not a secret place. That post ended up getting much more traction than I intended. Usually I don’t make that information so public, because I worry it will prevent employers from hiring me. An ugly reality.

Since sharing that, and worrying about the repercussions, I’ve been careful with what I share. I don’t mind telling you a story about swimming with my glasses on, as bone-headed as that makes me seem, because I think it’s funny, humanizing, and something others can probably relate to. Not many people are going to use that against me for anything other than a joke at my expense.

I read a post a few months ago where someone used the Batman/Bruce Wayne example to discuss how, thanks to the internet, nobody gets to have a secret identity anymore. (A Google search is not helping me find this post, because apparently there is a song called “I am not Batman.” If you know it, tell me, I’ll update the post). I vehemently do not agree. I advocate for a persona, and for never confusing the persona with the self.

Back to those glasses. I can see through them, but they’re just blurry enough that I really shouldn’t drive with them on. They’re a great model, though, for the kind of transparency that makes sense on the internet.