I have, over the past year, taken a great deal of time to reflect on the issues of social media, personal privacy and how much I would like to share of my life online. It’s a topic of great uncertainty, not only because no one has complete control over how much of their life is available to the public, and because I still haven’t made a fully formed decision about my views on it all.
Taking the past year (well truly 3/4 of a year) to withdraw and consider my options was necessary and very important. I have had some sort of blog or personal web presence for nearly 15 years, so the idea of deleting my Facebook account and moving away from Digilutionary was challenging. Although I will admit, I found this study to be particularly true. It’s quite nice to be off of Facebook!
I’ll be honest, I was motivated primarily by fear – that intangible worry on behalf of my children, my husband, my family, that sharing too much of our lives could lead to very little benefit for us. And potentially much the opposite. Although I have a rather sedate web presence in comparison with others, I still harbor fear of repercussions to my vocal and public opinions posted here and elsewhere.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy and the Geek and Gaming worlds have been exploding recently with stories of harassment, abuse, misogyny and horrific tales of relentless online bullying of women and other minorities. It’s extraordinary to hear the stories of courage and bravery in the face of some terrifying behavior. I encourage you to read some of the stories that resonated with me, mostly because I hope that you’ll understand what is at stake for those of us considering entering a public space as an advocate for various controversial topics.
I don’t have any answers about how to move forward, as the tech and social media world is a living organism of developments, releases and gradual obscurities. But pulling back from an online presence has helped me to identify the things that I do miss. I miss connecting with people that I respect and am interested in following, both personally and professionally. I miss sharing thoughts, ideas and essays on my website. Things that burn me from the inside out, that develop slowly in my head until I simply have to get them down onto the computer and know that they are being read by those who love me and who are interested in what I have to say.
Most of all, I miss developing my professional life as a writer. This has been on hold for quite some time now as I was consumed by a difficult pregnancy, a cross-country move, home schooling and attachment parenting two busy children. But I’m easing my way back into the idea of getting my stories out on submission, continuing to work on my novels, and contributing to my blog as frequently as I can.
I make no pledge about the form of my online participation in the future. It’s all a grand experiment of life and sharing and reception and experience. I will try to be here on Digilutionary more frequently, as a professional place of reflection and progress. I hope you’ll join me.