I started this blog with the intention of doing more of the writing I want to do rather than simply the writing I’m paid to do. But a lot what I write never makes it to the blog. The more time passes, the more I realize this is actually by design.
I’ll never forget my cousin’s explanation of why she didn’t want her two pre-teen daughters to get Facebook accounts: because at that age it’s too hard to understand that nothing you put on the internet will ever go away. Ever. I still find it perspicacious of her, but I also find people much older than her daughters have trouble coming to grips with this.
For better or for worse I understand this all too well. Being a journalist in Venezuela taught me to duck out of public debate about the things I covered. This became an almost paranoid obsession that kept me from getting sucked into unnecessary internet pissing matches. I’m equally cautious now that I’m writing about personal experiences, simply because I don’t know whose reading – or who could be reading ten years from now.
Do I want to bare my soul on a blog where a potential employer might be reading? Or what if I want to adopt a kid and a social worker decides to do a few Google searches about me? Is it going to help my case for he or she to know some intimate details about th inner workings ofo my psyche? Of course people put all sorts of things on their blogs, ranging from mundane ramblings to unnecessary details about personal illness to kiss-and-tell emotional psychodramas. Many are comfortable with it.
Not me. In part because, as this blog has helped teach me, I’m a more private person than I had realized. And also because (as my cousin rightly points out) these words will never disappear. As the name suggests, this blog is for writing that’s outside of work, thus Off the Wire. But there are things that are Really Off the Wire.