People put on different faces in public--sanitizing our lives for the benefit of those around us. I don't talk to my mother about religion. I don't talk to my father about politics. I don't complain about my office in front of my boss. I would not gripe about my wife to my children (if I had children). For each person I interact with, there is a set of information to which they are privy.
It would naturally follow, then, that the more people you are interacting with at once, the smaller that set of information becomes, because it must contain and only contain that which is safe to share with everyone. Following that logic, then, the cyber-self, the one that we put out there on the internets, should be the tiniest subset, the most highly sanitized version of ourselves because it is visible to everyone in the world. One would think.
The truth is that no one actually does this. The "veil of anonymity" that defined the interwebz in the mid-90's has carried over to the Web 2.0 sphere, the world of social networking. Despite that fact that someone may have 113 pictures of his or herself freely available on the web, they will still operate from behind that veil of anonymity, at least until they realize that potential employers do, in fact, know how to use Google.
I bring this up because my mother is now on Facebook.
My facebook persona is, perhaps, a bit more sanitized than my blog is, and my blog is already fairly cleaned, despite what you may think. There are a number of topics about which I simply will not blog, incidents that will only refer to obliquely, etc, because I'm aware that I'm posting all of this for the whole world to see. So this is less a journal than it is a lengthy editorial page, and that's all well and good. It's nice to have a place to pick fights and wax philosophical about world events.
I'm just not sure how comfortable I would be if I knew my mother was reading my obscenity-laced-anti-god-rants. I don't feel compelled to hide or delete any of this, but I have rather enjoyed the luxury of not having to have that particular conversation with her. Thankfully, my mother has no intention of friending me on Facebook or reading my blog--she openly and consciously enjoys not knowing too much about her children or their personal lives (ditto her students, none of whom will be on her friend's list).
And that's a decision I respect, and not just because it extends the life of the aforementioned luxury.