Monday, 23 May 2011

Number Twenty Two: The Wonderings

Mylene Klass told me that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. (Twitter has changed my life.)

Time on my hands…time on the sofa! This has afforded me much time to wonder (and get myself all worked up…on occasion!). Over the last few days I have been mainly wondering about privacy and the way we conduct our public and private lives. It goes without saying that the internet is having a huge impact on how much of all our private lives are played out publicly… super injunctions, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, newspapers. It also goes without saying that I’m not a particularly private person. I made a conscious decision to put what’s happening to me ‘out there’ for all to read. But I’m also aware that I have done this in a way that suits me… my own words, presented in my own style. I choose what bits I share with you and what I leave out (believe me chemotherapy is WAY more about pooing than I’ve let on so far on here!- My choice!)
It is becoming increasingly apparent that we have less control over what remains ‘private’. However tight our security and privacy settings on facebook there seems little to control what gets ‘out there’. Even without a facebook account you could appear in group shots on nights out. I wonder how many people appear in photos on social networking sites on work nights out without even being aware of it! I know one member of staff who was shocked to hear that someone had seen her on facebook! There are still people out there without facebook accounts!

I do think that we will have to get more comfortable with knowing more about people- a few (awful) parents have recently been shocked to see pictures of teachers on a hen night. Don’t even get me started on how disappointed I am in my local newspaper for running this as a (non) story. We now know everything about everybody! I am happy to say that there have been many more comments of support for these teachers than there have been horrid ones but what does concern me is the level of cruelty and spite in these fewer comments. Some horrible and totally inaccurate names have been used- I would be incredibly hurt if I’d received similar treatment and I really feel for these girls.

I am thankful that I am now boring and middle aged… (I don’t think even my private photos would cause much uproar these days!) When I was a young, single(ish) newly qualified teacher there were not even camera phones let alone facebook- and thank GOD! There’s only hearsay and rumour left to get me into trouble!

There is the question as to whether facebook has turned us all into exhibitionists- this is something I have wondered myself- it’s the combination of being able to photograph everything and so quickly upload for the world to see. Why do we want to be so ‘seen’? I will never ever ever understand those people who stand in line for X Factor yelling about how they want to be famous- wannabee WAGs- even worse! I couldn’t think of anything worse than being famous- my main reason for this has always been- I wouldn’t want to give up my private life (one of the down sides of being famous in my opinion.) I wouldn’t want people gossiping and using horrible words to describe me in the press. I wonder if this is why this newspaper article has rung such alarm bells with me. It seems that just the fact that I am a teacher (rather than being a rich and famous celebrity) could have the same affect! So without any of the perks of fame- money, cars, a mansion…I could still be in line to be criticised by the press… just because I’m a teacher! Not a nun…a teacher (just to clarify). 

Is there an up side to all of this? Could there possibly be a positive affect to foregoing a private life? Rather than being picky about what we choose to air publicly I’m wondering if in fact we will have to become more picky about what we actually do. Maybe we’ll all start being better people? If we can’t keep our dirty little secrets under wraps anymore will we start living better lives? Would we do things if we thought we were likely to get caught? Is the internet going to make us all more accountable? Or is it in fact that we’ll all get used to knowing everything about everybody and we’ll adjust to being less shockable? Most likely is a mixture of the two- we’ll maybe think twice before the affair but be less shocked when it happens!

I’ll continue to wonder away… what are you wondering?


  1. Here's a big "thank you" for being a teacher. One of the hardest jobs, that often gets unrecognised, and more then likely way underpaid for what your job entails. I'm one of the few people who aren't on facebook. My mom even has an account, and she's somewhat computer illiterate :-) I found it easier to not "put myself out there", and avoid the hubbies ex's getting in touch, or even some of my own. I like to pick up the phone and speak to someone, not get an email update that someone on my facebook account recently mowed his or her lawn and are now tired. That’s just me, and maybe someday I'll open an account and see what the fuss is all about. I think there are ways to have a blog, or facebook account, and not have "all" of your personal business displayed to everyone. As you said, you can choose what you put in your blog, and how much you want to share. On the other hand, my brother posted on his facebook account my diagnoses, and surgery dates. So even though I'm not on it, people still read about me. Thank goodness I don't live much of a sorted life, I'm sure what they do find online about me is quite disappointing and very boring. :-)

  2. I agree with you on much of this. My facebook is so locked down uninvited folks can't find me! I am more open on Twitter but am careful. We have a strict School Accepted User Policy regarding social media. Nothing we say can identify where we work. My blog is me, filtered by me! Having said all this I am glad to have company, albeit virtual, when time hangs heavy.

  3. Saw your tweet, I really feel for you. I feel like iv'e got a cold compared to you. Take carexx

  4. Hi Erin. Usual bag of pick me up hugs on delivery.

    Odd that thing about Facebook and wanting the world to see you. Think we live in a celebrity obsessed culture at the moment - too many reality tv shows, people earning silly money for doing nothing more than being seen to be silly and drunk - younger people seem to want this.

    I'm not a keen advocate of Facebook tbh. But whatever your celebrity and whatever your job - however much you might be in the public eye - does that mean that the general public own your private life? I dont think it does. I dont care who you are - you are still entitled to the same privacy of your proper private life as the man next door who may not be a celebrity. When these so called do gooders are 'outing' celebs secrets and feeling smug and clever about it - do they have any thoughts for the family of the so called celebrity, how a wife might feel on finding out in a public space what her husband has been up to? And who is to say that she didnt know but chose to keep quiet knowing that one day the celebrity would be over and a quieter more private life could be had? However, faced with some idiot who wants to plaster it all over facebook - she has to take an action she might not otherwise have done - and is it really the public's business what goes on in any individuals private life? As you have pointed out Erin - you have a blog - anyone can read it - but you choose how much of your life you put into that blog. So what makes it any different for a so called celebrity? They are entitled to their private life and I have no respect for those of this life who seek to publish secret, private and invasive details about anothers life and hang the consequences. Think I might be in a minority though!

    Erin - dont worry about the wigs. You are you and just as beautiful without them. Stand tall and proud and say 'this is my badge of survival if you dont like my wispy haired almost bald head you dont have to look at it!'
    And if you are going to wear a wig - how about using it as an opportunity to go completely mad?
    A bright red one, a blond with blue stripes? A long one, a short one. Just have fun with it.
    Once wore a wig out - deep auburn red with a fringe - and long, way down past my shoulders. I am normally high lighted blonde and fairly short layered. Well. The people I was out to dinner with were deeply uncomfortable and would be conversing, rest their eyes on me and suddenly stop dead - couldnt get used to it at all! Made me feel bright, vibrant and rather norty I have to say!

    Keep your chin up Erin. We are all supporting you in the norty corner and you carry our very bestest hugs and healing vibes with you daily.

    Lots of love.
    Barney Rubble. XXXXXXXX

  5. I was tweeted this 'Wondering' poem after writing this post. Thank you Noreen- she learnt it at school in Ireland. Xx

    Wondrous world

    I wonder why the grass is green
    And why the wind is never seen?
    Who taught the birds to built a nest
    And told the trees to take a rest?
    O, when the moon is not quite round
    Where can the missing bit be found?
    Who lights the stars, when they blow out
    And makes the lighting flash about?
    Who paints the rainbow in the sky
    And hangs the fluffy clouds so high?
    Why is it now, do you suppose
    That dad won't tell me if he knows?