Life in public

Jeff Jarvis makes an interesting point about social networking, Google presence and generally being known on the internet:

look at the benefits of publicness: We can maintain richer friendships longer. We may be more careful to act civilly in public. We may become more forgiving of others’ lapses of civility and sense in the hopes that they will forgive ours: the golden rule of the social life online, I hope. We can make connections with people with shared interests and needs. We act more socially. We find we can do more together than apart. We invest in and protect our identities and communities. We organize and act collaboratively to improve this world. Yes, there are risks to publicness and to losing privacy. But the benefits of life in the public are great. That is what my private peers do not realize but what the young public understands in their souls.

I like his thinking. True, it’s idealistic, but he’s highlighting the positive aspects to having a public presence on the web.

There are obvious privacy concerns, and one must be aware of how one’s web history can come back to haunt. The upside, Jarvis argues, is that other people have similar pasts and must forgive yours should they expect to be forgiven themselves.

Besides, there’s no reason you can’t have a weblife in public and not maintain a substantial degree of privacy.

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