I posted this blog entry this week in response to Chapter 2 of danah boyd’s book It’s Complicated: the social lives of networked teens I’m really enjoying my role as facilitator in the TVO TeachOntario book club collaboration with the Ontario School Library Association. Our discussions are so rich. It’s never too late to join. Just register at www.teachontario.ca and click on the Share tab to find us. I look forward to your response.
About the year 2012, I had the privilege to see CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi speak. I mean the man was one of my idols…we are roughly the same age, I went to a lot of his concerts when he was fronting the band Moxy Fruvous and I got a bit giddy each time I was able to listen to his radio show “Q”.
At the time, I had a chance to ask Ghomeshi a hard question about the nature of privacy and how as a librarian, I relished things like the national census that allowed us to collect demographics etc. I asked him what his stance was on privacy, and he said “Privacy? Well I think privacy is essentially dead…I mean isn’t it? Can it really get any worse?” Just before the news broke about being fired from the CBC, a former student of mine, now a TV journalist in Toronto, said aloud on Facebook “Where is Ghomeshi?” And I defended him (not knowing anything, of course) saying, “Hey man, his Dad just died. Let’s give him a break.” I wonder how he would feel about that statement now….as his privacy (and I’m not condoning his behaviour at all) was ripped apart over not just an incident, but his entire career as a journalist, musician, even as a university student.
In 2016, I don’t think it’s ok for us to not take responsibility for our behaviour and then get mad about the fact that someone had a camera. Yet I also understand the need for it. boyd’s chapter on privacy is well-placed as I think we’ve all firmly established that adult online identities are groomed and polished. If that’s true, then I will continue to fiercely protect the parts of me that I don’t want to share. boyd says “in practice, both privacy and publicity are blurred…Privacy doesn’t just depend on agency; being able to achieve privacy is an expression of agency” (p. 76). I like being public in many circumstances, but without the ability to retreat completely, I would sacrifice my publicity for privacy any day.