The shackles of online freedom

Just yesterday my blog reached 4000 individual visits (blogger is probably overestimating it with about 50%… still). Flattered – I think it is number higher than it deserves. Unsettled – I think it is number higher than what is comfortable. After all, a blog is the (censored) version of a diary.

The social media and the Internet has become a place where you can flash yourself in the perceived shadow of “no-consequences”. A shadow free for others to dig out almost any information. Belonging to the generation that saw Internet claim its throne, I try to remain at least a little cautious.

Though, I ask myself: am I really any different if I maintain a blog?  The exchange for freedom to express oneself comes at subjection to judgement. Is it a fair price? The big bad wolf of the ever increasing Big Brother society tracks our searches, scans our emails and files everything in our “marketing probability”- and “against-common-good likelihood”-files. Plunging us back into the fear of darkness that defined many a child’s night. “Big Brother is watching you”. We all know it, yet in a borderline “soul-selling” fashion we crave one more “thumbs up”.

The silent, almost invisible judgement from Big Brother is only the first side of the coin of online exposure. In the shadows monsters like Internet-hatred are feeding and the more innocent modern times gossip finds ground to grow in the dark: Facebook-stalking – the “all fun and games”-way to draw scandalous conclusions about your friends, a proper Google search “to get to an impression” of someone new. I find it a strange custom to gain information about someone without their knowledge thereof, even when self-exposed. It is a frightening thought that I could base my whole impression of someone on the bits of online information never intended for me in the first place.  

I suppose it is safe to say that socially I have become a rather old fashioned person. I like people to tell me what they want me to know about themselves. To show me who they are through honest conversation and stand-up behaviour. I believe this offers a more just representation. I try to go in with the expectation that people are honest with how they portray themselves. In the rare situation when I get the feeling that someone is not telling the whole truth, I do not want to make that my problem. I have little respect for the half-truths that also are half-lies, but I do not think it my business to ask Big Brother to confirm my suspicions. As I see it there are two major reasons why people would lie about themselves: Either they want something from you, or they wish something of themselves. Both sadder for the speaker, than for the hearer.   

What I like about having a blog, is that while I expose parts of my inner thoughts, you can decide if you want to listen, and I can decide what you can hear. Somewhere in the shadows there is probably a bigger picture where the half-truths and half-lies are undecipherable. But this is the half-truth I want you to see.

One thought on “The shackles of online freedom”

  1. Hello Maria,
    I am currently studying Web Media and I came across your blog post. Personally, I believe that each and every one of us who have an online presence feel free to present ourselves as we want to be seen by others, which might not be the way we will present ourselves in real life. What I mean is that each one of us has the freedom and ability of creating our own personality, both in the real world and virtually, online. Moreover, in so doing, I believe that this culture has given us an opportunity to go beyond what we do every day without needing an internet connection. I agree with what you say about being honest about who we are, but what about the possibility of someone just wanting to portray themselves in another way online? I think that this goes in line with how you say that only you have control over what readers have access to, what they can get to know about you. ‘Big brother’ might be watching for sure as you say, but in the end, what he sees is only what we choose to reveal.

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