I started thinking about this in the context of facebook and flickr and twitter and blogs and all the various places online you can share what you are thinking, reading, doing, and seeing so I almost called this post how naked are you willing to get online?
See, new platforms for socialization have many asking new questions: Do you friend your boss on facebook? Do you post the same photos on flickr if you know your in-laws will see them? Do you twitter what you’re really doing at three in the afternoon? Usually the way these questions get asked make it clear that conflict is expected. That you don’t really like your boss, and certainly don’t want him or her to see pictures of what you did last weekend. That what you did last weekend was somehow wrong or inappropriate or damaging to your career. That your in-laws so don’t see the world the way you do, you’d never want to show them how you see through the lens of your camera.
Now, I realize in many ways I’m lucky. My day job counts on me playing with social software. I’m friends with my boss, and not only on facebook. I love my in-laws, and will vacation with them not under duress, but because I genuinely think it will be fun. I will twitter about work or with flickr friends during the day and not think twice about it. If I’m really pissed about something, I have enough sense not to name names. Unless it’s the T, in which case those bastards have it coming. In other words, there isn’t a giant disconnect in my life between who I am at home, at work, and with other people.
I have no tolerance for intricate social maneuvering of the sort where I have to worry about how saying X to Y will effect Z if they find out. I do not miss junior high, not one bit. Other than the obvious naked means:
lacking confirmation or support
devoid of concealment or disguise
defenseless; unprotected; exposed
plain; simple; unadorned
exposed to view or plainly revealed
True, not all of this sounds very, er, appealing. Defenseless definitely sounds bad, but defensive doesn’t sound good. Plain, simple, and unadorned sound good. Exposed to view is okay. Blunt… well, now we’re talking. Plain-spoken. I take that to mean talking like a person because you are one. So if you are willing to do that, I guess that makes you naked.
That not happening at work may be my number one aggravation.
I don’t mean my team. (Yes, really, and not just because sometimes some of them read this blog.) I mean stupid powerpoint decks. With their obtuse, obfuscating jargon and endless acronyms crammed onto slides in tiny point type. I mean the whole operationalizing, moving the needle, getting shared vision, boiling the ocean bullshit.
I mean the worrying about who you are facebook friends with stuff, too. The who can see your photos, and what they’ll really be seeing if they look. The loving or hating or freaking out about twitter’s simple what are you doing?
Why does everyone put up with this crap? It’s insane. It’s annoying. And it’s not really who we are. Cause if that’s true, hell, we all need more help than I thought. Yet we often choose to stay quiet, we fail to call bullshit, because we’re afraid. But naked is who we are. We just forget that sometimes.