The Virtue of Privacy and of Being a Private Person
At one time I shared my not-so-exciting life with others over the internet. I once had a Facebook account, a Myspace, and blog in which I talked all about my boring life and what was happening with it. I found that when I would say something that other people did not like or did not agree with, it came back to haunt me. Sometimes the results were just plain scary. The people I knew, on one hand, thought that I should share everything about my life with them. This was partly due to the fact that I was quite young when I moved out of my home and I moved quite far from the rest of my family. I found, however, that when I shared my life with others, there was much questioning about it. Many people came up to their own conclusions about my life, many of which were erroneous. Therefore, I began to slowly realize that sharing my life was not for me.
I have always enjoyed writing, both fiction and non-fiction. I have found that my writings are well received by those who I do not know, but those who I do know either do not care to read what I write, or they are offended by what they read between the lines. At one time I shared my writings with family and friends, but often this was met with angry responses about something or other. Sometimes these responses were not told directly to me, but I learned of them through another party. It was then I decided that I would withdraw as somewhat of an experiment. In fact, I found that it worked well. Writing without wondering what others would think or say made me stop worrying and caring. Instead, I focused on the writing and began to write for a new audience. I must say, it was exciting.
Talking to other writers, I find that I am not alone in having my work appreciated by other people but not by those who are close to me. For example, many bloggers state that their family does not read their blogs or that they do not understand the point to blogging. Much work goes into creating blogs and stories, and it's a shame that family members do not understand that such works are a creative endeavor that says a lot more about a person than what someone says on a Facebook account. Yet, people expect you to be on Facebook. In fact, I have found that it angers some that I am not on the site. What one writes on Facebook is rarely a creative endeavor, and if it is, it is not of the same caliber as a longer written work. I found that everything I wrote on Facebook was read, scrutinized, and taken apart. Some of the things I wrote which were not meant to offend got so twisted around that I was on the receiving end of a nasty lashing of the tongue (so to speak).
I am not alone here. I have known people who are on Facebook who are constantly getting a lashing. Part of me thinks that these individuals are masochists, because they don't feel the need to end their involvement in (a)social networking and begin a psychologically healthier life. Instead, they feel a duty to be on it and share every essence of their lives with those who will take notice. The draw of watching other people or maintaining "virtual" friendships is so strong that many can not even begin to hope to escape. It is sad that they feel this way. I liken it to a sickness, because I strongly believe that this is not the optimal way to lives one's life. I also believe if something is not optimal, then the best method should instead be applied. The result, of course, is to leave the site. Of course, this is not what those who have a financial stake in the world of (a)social networking want you to realize. That's right: (a)social networking is a business, and to exist, it requires on you being on the site. Many people forget this and think that Facebook was created for "fun."
When I woke up to the reality that sharing my life with others was not for me, I realized that my life began to flourish. I realized that I shared too much with others, and pulled back on the reins, so to speak. I realized, however, that leaving Facebook would amount to little good if I was still to share everything I did through blogs and other writings. Therefore, I got rid of them. Of course, this may not work for everyone, but I felt happier and more sure of myself as a person once I stopped sharing my life with those who are 'far away'. I found that I was less creative and more lethargic about life as a whole when I was sharing my writings and creations with those who only scrutinized them. I found that being on Facebook is often a vehicle for others to watch you and keep you within their gaze. It is comforting to some to know that they watch you. Can you imagine the horror that many would feel if one day you were no longer on Facebook? This dependence on Facebook is part of the problem why many people are so addicted, and why there is much anger when a person disappears from the site.
Life is not about keeping secrets, but it's not about telling everything to others either. I have found that I have often told too much about myself and my life over the internet, and only came to regret it in the end. Facebook was one of those ways that easily allowed me to say far too much. I never felt comfortable telling the world about the small details of my life. Much of it is nobodies business. Other things only cause one, in the end, to feel negative emotions. I felt no want to make people jealous of my life through (a)social networking. I felt that competing with people over the internet that I once knew well, but now barely know, was a foolish endeavor. Such a site is a bastion for those who feel the need to be the center of the world's attention. That was always antithetical to who I was. I feel no need to embark on such a journey.
Many of the world's shapers are private people. One can not create great things while spending their lives talking about every small thing that they do. The greatest creations happen in the shadows, in the quiet places where creation thrives. Few great things happen when one is busy sharing every small detail to the world. For example, I have found that those who talk about writing a book are less likely to write one than those who just go to work writing it without sharing it to the world. A critique of one's work can be good, but that should be saved until the end, when the draft is complete and the work is ready to be revised.. Many people on Facebook proudly proclaim the great things that they have planned, but very few actually do those great things they talk about. Talking about doing something and doing something are two different things. Generally they are two distinct things that never actually meet.
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This awesome book (if I do say so myself) tackles and pummels Facebook from every angle. Depression, envy, infidelity, productivity, addiction, anger, sadness, lethargy, comparing, and loss of joy (among others). Many of the themes of this website have been taken and expanded in great detail.
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