I think I’ve hit a wall with social media. I took to it immediately, for reasons good (being so connected has improved my life enormously) and bad (I’m generally better on paper than in person, ha ha), and struggles around Facebook’s lousy privacy policies never troubled me too much.
For better or worse, I’ve never had much of a gap between my personal and professional life or my inner and outer worlds. I don’t compartmentalize my life and the adage “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” has never come naturally to me. I believe in honesty above all and that the personal is political. I’ve occasionally suffered for this in my career and definitely in my private life but, for a man devoted to the end of secrets and lies, closets and cover stories, keeping my own seems silly, if not hypocritical.
Yet now, as the world and I trade with each other ever more on Facebook and Twitter and WordPress and LinkedIn and Google freakin’ Plus, it’s all too much. I find myself being ever more careful in what I say to the hundreds of people I’m attached to and ever more conscious of the joke, “Twitter makes strangers feel like friends and Facebook makes friends feel like strangers.” Both are true, both increasingly uncomfortable. Sure, I could just, you know, not do it but if you do know me, you know that’s not really an option.
More importantly, I have the conflicting demands of my friends. I’m blessed with a wide circle of fantastic friends and acquaintences but have to come to find that people who enjoy my writing and political activism don’t necessarily want to hear my syrupy sonnets to Mr. Darcy, Tegan the Jack Russell Terrorist or Doctor Who, while those closer to me don’t necessarily want to hear my steady takes on religious fundamentalism, Rupert Murdoch or bike lanes.
So that’s why there’s now two of me. If you follow me on Facebook (and I hope that you will), you’ll get a steady flow of what I’m thinking of, working on and ranting about. Meanwhile, I’ll be starting to restrict my personal Facebook page (with all its family photos and event stuff and personal natterings) to those I know personally. Such “defriending” is not to slight any of the great people who’ve added me over the years but to honour the wishes of my family and friends. Everyone can now pick their poison: adding my public page or my private page or both.
Here on this site, of course, some of my personal crap will still be occasionally in the mix but clearly headlined and tagged (“Diary,” for instance) so you can ignore what you don’t care about. On Facebook however, it’s all just a smear.
But Google Plus? Let’s you do all this in one clean page layout. I’m loving it so far. Mark Zuckerberg is about to have more to worry about than just an unflattering movie.