For a while now, I've been preaching about how much more wonderful the world could be if we all lived free and open lives, in fact, ever since I read Peter F Hamilton's rubbishly named but brilliant Night's Dawn trilogy and was introduced to the concept of a shared mind. I'll gibber on about that another time, but for now I'm just mentioning it as a part of my worries on the issue of privacy.
I believe that there is clearly a will amongst many people to do this - look to the bloggers, the wikipedians, the social networkers - whether they appreciate it or not, they have been taking the first pioneering steps towards this goal, and there's a lot of them: Social networking has overtaken porn as the most done thing on the internet - now that's impressive!
Now, obviously, leading a free and open life and leading a private life are intrinsically opposed and so it's a bit difficult to do both, however, that's what we need to do for now until things start to go in the right direction. Eventually, I see society going down this route (at least some of it), and if a lot of people are doing it together, it's easy for them to protect themselves together. For example, they may wish to be open with each other, but close ranks to others who do not reciprocate their open nature. In the meanwhile, attempting anything of this kind leaves the participant exposed to those wishing to take advantage for all sorts of nasty purposes. As they old joke* goes, "Inside every liberal, there's a conservative who hasn't been mugged yet".
So by setting up this blog, I've become less of a hypocrite and have started to practice what I preach. These are my first steps on the way to an open life, but should I limit what I say to protect myself from the parasitic scumbags, or just hope it doesn't happen? For instance, it would be nice to add a link to my Facebook account, but then people could see who I am and what I'm up to. I've not got so much of a problem with that per se, but there are a lot of potential stalkers and other such weirdos out there. My girlfriend gets them all the time! Speaking of Facebook, I was perusing once and followed a few links for friends of friends, as you do, and came across a girl who I'd never met who had published her mobile number and full address on her page. Now THAT'S just bloody silly.
So I'm left with a dilemma, I want to add links to my social network accounts, publish photos on here and link to my CV (call it advertising, if you want :-) ), but that might involve inadvertently revealing who I am, where to find me and what my PIN number is (well, maybe not, but you get the idea..... not that I trying to give anyone ideas here). Or I could stop stressing, trust in the kindness of strangers and safety in numbers, and start to enjoy my new open life.
Watch this space.... second thoughts, don't ;-)
* - I did a bit of a search for this on a few quote sites, but can't find who first said it. Shame.