Should we all lead transparent lives?

TwitterJeff Jarvis is a man whose thoughts I always pay close attention to. I don’t always agree with him, but he continually tests the assumptions that we make about which parts of our lives we can and should share. Now he has followed his arguments through and decided to blog and tweet about the news that he has prostate cancer.

Here, he lays out why there will come a time when the benefits of us sharing the details of our lives will outweigh all concerns about privacy. In a previous column he’s argued that all journalists should be open about who they vote for. Do you agree? And would you be willing to be open about your qualifications, marital history, political inclinations, health and just about everything else? And if we all followed suit, would that create a world you’d be excited to live in? Also worth considering these recent stories about Twitter…

40% of tweets are ‘babble’

Just 10% of Twitter users generate more than 90% of the content, a Harvard study of 300,000 users found.

91 Responses to “Should we all lead transparent lives?”

  1. 1 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 18, 2009 at 12:17

    No way, as we say in Trinidad everyone has “cocoa in the sun” meaning there are hidden things that you don’t want to bring to light and there everyone has something they want kept hidden.

    • 2 But on the other hand ph
      August 18, 2009 at 19:20

      I think you are true because it is wrong of everyone to be interested in other’s private life, It hurts their feelings of being kept from public interest and any rumours that make people get into the difficult situations. But on the other hand gossiping about any star’s private life is the most popular and the main goal of paparazzi and journalists, exactly their jobs may allow them to earn a living, to do something for a living. Hence we can understand the journalists’ situation when each of thrm is trying to take at least one photo in order to make some money and to feed themselves and thier families. That’s why we can’t criticize one side and heap praise on the other one.

  2. 3 Rob (UK)
    August 18, 2009 at 12:19

    Anything anybody wants to share about their personal life, they should be free to do so. To compel journalists to share anything about their personal life if another matter, and voting choice should be the last thing on the list.

  3. August 18, 2009 at 13:08

    There are times when an excess of truth would damage humanity. There are things that are best left uncovered and unreported.

  4. 5 patti in cape coral
    August 18, 2009 at 13:12

    I think Gandhi said something like – “Happiness is when what you think, what you do, and what you say are in perfect harmony.” Words to aspire to, but most of us don’t live that way. I’m very open to most people about my life, my opinions, etc., probably more than I should be, but I have deep, dark things hidden in the depths that I wouldn’t want anyone to know about, as I think most people do. Also, it’s not always about deep, dark secrets. Some people are just naturally reserved, and they shouldn’t be forced to be otherwise.

    • 6 Mary Hatch
      August 19, 2009 at 16:08

      Without wishing to be disrespectful to the memory of the great man, I think his statement is open to question. Many tyrants and monsters could claim that their thoughts, words and actions are in perfect harmony. And maybe they are, indeed, happy, but I don’t think they generate much happiness around them.

      • 7 patti in cape coral
        August 20, 2009 at 15:15

        I never thought of it that way, but I guess if monsters were transparent, we would see them for what they are immediately and would be able to take steps. That can’t be bad can it? In any case, I do believe there is a little monster inside all of us that we don’t necessarily want to share with everyone.

  5. 8 Jennifer
    August 18, 2009 at 14:21

    I have no problem being transparent; and I am ; selectively anyway. Except for some people…..in some situations…..Twitter is a great site. However, I think it’s a little silly to tweet about things like “at the grocery store now”, “putting gas in the car”, etc. I usually tweet things that are informative! 🙂 Every once in awhile I throw people off with a personal tweet or twitpic that is silly because it’s fun!

  6. 9 steve
    August 18, 2009 at 14:24

    This would be scary to know. Kinda like when you find out what the person you are dating is really like, what they’re been hiding. Scary stuff. I think we’re better off not knowing than to see how messed up most people actually are.

  7. August 18, 2009 at 14:32

    Transparency up to a point. We live in an imperfect, manipulative world. Our thoughts and motives follow logical patterns. We all have our own private, secret gardens which reinvigorate and help us to replenish our batteries. We need quality time to collect our thoughts. Journalists are human and deal with human interest stories all the time. They would like to be honest and be up-front and transparent. But in the real world it is necessary to protect the sources of your information. One cannot afford to be naive and divulge too many personal details and views. One needs to be smart and not hand the initiative to a competitor on a silver platter. Every opinion has to be weighed thoroughly.

  8. 11 John in Salem
    August 18, 2009 at 14:38

    If you’re an average person living an average life and you feel inclined to share it in detail with the rest of the world then go for it – just be aware that you’re doing it for YOU, because no one else is going to care.

  9. August 18, 2009 at 14:42

    Not only individuals should have personal Transparent Life .This good be full of sinful or free of Sinful.Similarly World trade Organization should have competitive transparent competition in acquiring resource business.How about illegal occupation of Afghanistan and their resources movement for the advantage of few firms (globally) upsetting World Economy Job Losses Recession?

  10. 13 Monica in DC
    August 18, 2009 at 14:56

    I don’t mind being open and honest… in fact I generally am. But there is such a thing as TMI- Too Much Information. There are just some things I’d rather not share with others, and vis versa.

  11. 14 Tom K in Mpls
    August 18, 2009 at 15:03

    Actually, the question only has a connection to the internet as a minor side point. The question applies to all of our personal interactions. The internet eliminates physical distance for relationships, but on the whole changes very little.

    Many people are very private when you meet them face-to-face. Some tell you everything. The digital interactions should be no different. Now digital socializing does get a bit more risky in exposing friends and family so a bit of care is required in that area.

    The short answer, that is up to the individual.

  12. 15 Linda from Italy
    August 18, 2009 at 15:10

    Twitter twaddle and blog babble are just the logical extension of the sort of “I’m on the train” posturing that accompanied the genesis of the mobile phone. At this point I have to own up to finding these sort of opinion blogs great entertainment, particularly since my social/professional situation leaves me rather cut off from F2F interaction.
    What is important is that these new communications media are seen for what they are and not taken too seriously, “citizen journalism” worries me in a big way.
    The case in point is just another in an increasingly long line of people writing about their personal experience of illness, terminal or otherwise, and I’m afraid, as with all these, I will use my critical faculties to choose which ones I follow.
    Others can be as transparent as they like, but let us be free to choose to peek through these keyholes, only if we so wish. What no others have the right to do is to demand that everyone else is as voluble as they, if I want to keep my picture off the web and substitute a picture of one of my, much prettier, cats for my own less than photogenic face, that is my choice. It isn’t so much a question of “deep dark secrets” but rather a pragmatic sense of our own human absurdity and triviality.

  13. 16 Linda from Italy
    August 18, 2009 at 15:35

    “…all journalists should be open about who they vote for.”
    This is a far more serious question in one way but, at least at the moment, is irrelevant. Being closely acquainted with the media of 2 countries, the UK and Italy, I know that it is editorial policy that provides the political bias, often journalists are just doing a job and so have to toe the line with their employers to pay the rent/feed their kids etc. and if their own opinions are in conflict with this, some sub-editor will iron these out. If I were in the US and had no access to international media, I would avoid Fox News like the plague because I am aware of its political agenda.
    If it is actually believed that “citizen journalism” is the future of the profession/ trade, and that the likes of Alan Johnston and Fergal Keene are to be pensioned off in favour of a bunch of uncritical ranters, we will only have ourselves to blame for expecting everything for free and affording equal weight to Internet dross, but that’s an older argument on this blog. Besides, the ranters soon give away their agendas and we will be able to see right through them, we don’t need some declaration of “voting intent”, which may still anyway be a smoke screen.

  14. 18 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
    August 18, 2009 at 15:50

    Exposing yourselves to other people have much impacts on how others might view U and it is all more negative than the positive ones.

  15. 19 Roy, Washington DC
    August 18, 2009 at 15:55

    If a journalist mentions offhand that they voted for a given candidate, that’s one thing. Making a point of saying “I voted for ABCXYZ”, though, is a tacit endorsement of that candidate. This violates journalistic neutrality.

    As for sharing personal details…to each their own. I personally don’t see a need to do that, but if someone wants to provide such minute things as what TV shows they like, more power to them.

  16. 20 James Turner
    August 18, 2009 at 16:08

    Everyone should be allowed to be as transparent as they wish to be. The authorities must be transparent!

  17. 21 Halima Brewer
    August 18, 2009 at 16:09

    More transparency might be a good idea, but it would have to be alongside more respect and tolerance.

    without the tolerance and respect – absence of name calling and insults, or discrimination – it could be a form of tyranny.

  18. August 18, 2009 at 16:12

    Exposing oneself is not exactly safe. It puts you at risk of being blackmailed and it could also be damaging to the next person.I think our neighbours and friends do not need to know more than we are willing to tell them about us.

  19. 23 Mike from Indianapolis Indiana
    August 18, 2009 at 16:20

    No, we should not lead transparent lives. Personal choice trumps any and all claims of benefits of personal transparency. It is up to the individual to decide how much of his/her personal life to disclose to others. There are, of course, exceptions such as disclosing conflicts of interest in one’s professional life, financial dealings of elected officials and corporate leaders, etc., but these are narrow and specific.

  20. 24 Denise in Chicago
    August 18, 2009 at 16:31

    I am baffled as to why people believe everyone is interested in their lives, even the most mundane aspects. This is a rather arrogant, and potentially risky assumption. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Not only should we NOT be transparent, we should make an effort to be more private. I wish Jeff Jarvis well, but ony close family and friends (at most) should be included in Twitter health updates.

  21. 25 Nelson Isibor
    August 18, 2009 at 16:35

    Some times, too much knowledge comes with certain negative effects we can all do with out, so there are some things that should be kept behind the scenes. Individuals processes information differently so they could either put it to use for or against you. I once read somewhere every one has done something he doe not want anybody to know about. So when it comes to transparency, apply common sense!

  22. 26 Robz
    August 18, 2009 at 16:35

    Being totaly open about yourself to others is good in theory.In our western culture we are told to be honest,but when it comes to work and relationships,we hide things in order to be accepted or desireable by others.
    If we were to be totaly open about ourself,relationships would be better,but marriages would be less frequent;friendships also.
    If I know everything about you upfront,where is the surprize in knowing you,why would you bea injoyable companion?
    It’s better to learn about a person as time goes by.
    Our faults make us fun.
    Rob in Florida.

  23. 27 patti in cape coral
    August 18, 2009 at 16:44

    As far as the twitter angle, I recently joined, but have not had a chance to use it yet. From what I understand, there is a limit to how many characters you can type. I would guess that would make it hard to make any meaninful or convoluted points. I had no idea people will actually just talk about what they are doing in real time, the most mundane stuff such as “I am on my exercise bike now.” That sounds kind of boring to me, but will have to reserve any true judgement until I get into it and see what it’s about.

    • 28 Tom K in Mpls
      August 19, 2009 at 00:40

      Twitter is a quick communication tool. The more professional use for it is to develop a network of associates and send quick messages and links to more in depth info. The main advantages over email are you can locate people by keyword search and that it works well on most phones. There are security features, but as with anything, more security means less function.

  24. 29 John in Salem
    August 18, 2009 at 17:09

    Should journalists be open about who they vote for?

    NO. Journalists should try to emulate their editors, many of whom DO NOT VOTE out of professional integrity and a desire to keep their publications impartial.

  25. August 18, 2009 at 17:10

    I personally believe that it is not save to say everything about yourself publicly, some of the information may be used against you in the short-run. So it would be wise to select or think about what to make public about yourself.

  26. 31 Mohammed Ali
    August 18, 2009 at 17:18

    Leading a transparent life depends on the individual and not for others to judge.

  27. 32 nora
    August 18, 2009 at 17:45

    Complete transparency for average Joes would stand in stark contrast to the wall we get in matters like the national budget for spies. When the CIA is completely transparent, I’ll think about it.

  28. 33 Mike in Seattle
    August 18, 2009 at 17:49

    I’m sorry, but when my state allows people to be fired from their jobs for no reason at all, I’ll keep my personal life private. I’m not willing to risk my job simply because a potentially petty boss doesn’t like who I’m going to vote for.

  29. 34 Andrew in Australia
    August 18, 2009 at 17:54

    Considering the state of the internet and how easy it is for hackers and criminals to hijack identities then it really is not a safe or smart option to place yourself out into cyberspace in such a way. It simply makes it too easy for those unscrupulous operators to do what they do and cause havoc.

  30. 35 nora
    August 18, 2009 at 18:00

    you seem to have removed the listen live feature from the web page. How to connect?

  31. 36 steve
    August 18, 2009 at 18:01

    Broadcasting everything that is going on your life is nothing more than narcissism. The border between narcissism and being a sociopath is very, very short.

  32. 37 Keith- Ohio
    August 18, 2009 at 18:03

    Perhaps the public benefits would one day outweigh the costs of revealing all personal information, but not the personal benefits. For instance, a member of the public media might be reluctant to reveal their political affiliation, as it could alienate their public following.

  33. 38 Dennis Junior
    August 18, 2009 at 18:05

    Not a chance, transparent lives are better; then there are risking the identities of all….

    That scares me very much..

    =Dennis Junior=

  34. 39 Shannon in Ohio
    August 18, 2009 at 18:06

    The definition of a “transparant life” keeps changing. I’m an old lady and can remember when Betty Ford, whose husband was then the president of the U.S., was very open about the fact that she had breast cancer. Before then, saying “breast” on T.V. or in print was just unheard of. Many American women had check-ups as a result. I believe she did a good thing. Princess Di hugged people who had AIDS as a way to help the uninformed understand you can’t catch it by hugging.

    Tweeting about the fact that you drove to work or just talked to your cousin seems…sad. Tweeting in order to spread information about…having prostate cancer, AIDS, whatever seems like it might help others who lack information find information.

    • August 19, 2009 at 00:37

      Shannon in Ohio, Madam Betty Ford, the First Lady of USA and Princess Diana performed a great service by their public actions. And I thank you for telling us about them.
      But can we class Jeff Jarvis with them when he blogs about his prostrate cancer ?
      I will abide by your wisdom. So would many of from this forum. Thank you.

  35. 41 Troy in New York
    August 18, 2009 at 18:14

    There are certainly well-established forums where people with like-illnesses such as cancer, HIV, diabetes, etc., can come together to share experiences. However, the notion that anyone who chooses to remain private through any personal experience is “robbing” others in preposterous and sounds scarily Orwellian.

  36. 42 brinda,India
    August 18, 2009 at 18:14

    No way,,,,Personal information should be strictly “need to know “basis.

    Personal information it self say PERSONAL. soo,,there is no second person in it.

    We are all humans ..with a gods given gift of forming opinions and judging. Not all human being have the maturity and character to not judge and not be influenced by certain information.

    At some point of time the excess information can lead to more harm than good.

    too much transparency can lead to collateral damage for anyone for that matter.
    As far as a journalist is concerned every profession has ethics and as long as he/she abides by it that should be sufficient. They have their right;s too.As a layman I always though being unbiased was a major part of being a journalist.so his or her opinion on all issues need not be expressed i think.

    • August 19, 2009 at 00:23

      brinda, India, your thoughts are worthy of note.

      What you say of an unbiased Journalist is true. But we do know none in that trade is unbiased. They cannot be so long as they are humans and have their own thoughts and ideals.

  37. 44 Ugochukwu Udeh
    August 18, 2009 at 18:15

    I dont think reaviling some vital information about oneself is a crime. Some people can learn from your successes, breakthrough or even failure. It is good to let some vital issues known to people. Transparency will not help our society.

    Sent on a phone using T9space.com

  38. 45 steve
    August 18, 2009 at 18:15

    I’m glad the guest mentioned it, or at least admitted it, but from what I’ve seen about twitter it’s all “me me me, look at me, this is what I’m doing”. I really don’t care what other people doing, and I would hope nobody else cares what I’m doing. If you observed something newsworthy, and reported it, then perhaps you could, but otherwise it’s just “me me me”, and people are narcissistic enough these days. These days, people are using Twitter so they can feel like celebrities. Someone’s paying attention to them. I think this is harmful for society.

    • 46 Tom K in Mpls
      August 19, 2009 at 00:44

      You need to quit listening to kid/anti-kid news. Although they say 40% is babel. Actually it is also a very useful professional tool. Read my reply to patti above.

  39. 47 kate in NC
    August 18, 2009 at 18:16

    I wish everyone were more transparent, or at least showed a willingness to be vulnerable. If as a society, we saw more dirty laundry aired on a regular basis, I think it would lead to people having more self-confidence and feeling more comfortable in their own skin.

    Human nature being what it is, this will never be the norm.

  40. August 18, 2009 at 18:16

    Transparency is good, but discretion is just as vital for good business and pleasant social interactions. Perhaps the answer is a healthy balance between openness and discretion.

  41. August 18, 2009 at 18:16

    I run a website in which people confess their bulimia – something people have desperate trouble talking about to their peers, however can bring themselves to do online for some reason. By talking about it, they feel unburdened.

    This relieves their anxiety and often reduces their bulimic activity. Additionally they can see very swiftly, they are really ot alone. At last there are people who really understand.



  42. 50 steve
    August 18, 2009 at 18:18

    How could anyone feel “obliged” to post something? That’s like feeling obliged to buy a certain brand of clothes because everyone else is wearing it, or wanting to be seen in BMW because it’s a status symbol. Only the most insecure of people would feel an obligation to twitter or post something that happened during their day based upon the pressure. So one day it will be a trend to post what diseases we have? I for some reason don’t think I’ll ever have a need to share that information.

  43. 51 mountain adam in portland
    August 18, 2009 at 18:19

    How dare Jeff Jarvis insinuate I should have to share information about myself. I advise him to leave the US and go somewhere his intrusive behavior and suggestions are appreciated. My life is MINE not yours or his. I have more to say but the BBC won’t allow it on their blog.

  44. 52 Robert Macala
    August 18, 2009 at 18:19

    Great Idea…I think all talking heads on the major media outlets…even and especially Fox News…should have their salaries levels attached to their lapels.
    6 figure or millionaire talking heads certainly have an agenda that
    the viewers will see match their point of view or how they report
    the news…Millionaires telling the rest of the world what is going on
    in the world will certainly give some perspective on the subject
    they are talking about….Bob Macala, Miami Beach

  45. August 18, 2009 at 18:20

    I dont think reaviling some vital information about oneself is a crime. Some people can learn from your successes, breakthrough or even failure. It is good to let some vital issues known to people. Transparency will not help our society.

    Sent on a phone using T9space.com

  46. 54 Stephen in Portland/Oregon
    August 18, 2009 at 18:21

    I don’t twitter or purchase celebrity magazines because I just don’t care what other people are doing.

    I try to work at my own life.

  47. 55 saad
    August 18, 2009 at 18:21

    A person should be as transparent as much as possible yet sharing all things would create disturbance in life. Something are not to share, they should’t be.

  48. 56 Shannon in Ohio
    August 18, 2009 at 18:23

    @ steve

    I see your point–but what about information about illness?

  49. 57 Lisa from Pennsylvania, US
    August 18, 2009 at 18:23

    What you ate for breakfast or the type of champagne you drank when you proposed to your wife are NOT for the greater good. I think if you looked at everything on twitter or on facebook as a “status update” you would see much of it is NOT even relevant to most of the world. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sharing such information if you choose too, but these 140 character messages usually aren’t of great importance, so you shouldn’t feel compelled to share anything you don’t want to.

  50. 58 steve
    August 18, 2009 at 18:25

    I can see it now, how far will narcissism take people:

    11:00PM On my 5th guinness now
    11:15PM On my 7th Guinnness now

    11:39 PM On my 9th Guinnessssssss now

    11:50 PM Getting behind the wheel now, boy I feel goood!

    Is it going to get to the point where people are blogging/twittering about the crimes they are committing?

  51. 59 Carrie
    August 18, 2009 at 18:26

    It’s only through some others who were willing to be transparent about their own issues that gave me the strength to make it through our fertility treatments. I think leading transparent lives is incredibly helpful, and sorely lacking, for those of us who go through “taboo” issues–like the speaker’s cancer, like my fertility treatments, and on and on.

  52. 60 margaret
    August 18, 2009 at 18:27

    Our lives are TOO transparent as it is. Computers, the internet, cell phones with video and photo capability are the reason. Too many criminals, predatory people, cyberbullies and the like are out there ready and willing to trash your reputation, steal your identity, swift boat you, etc. Not to mention snooping employers, governments, exhusbands, and stalker wannabees. And your enemies seem to be able to safely maintain their anonymity on the web. Things on the web can go viral in literally minutes and tend to persist, whether they be lies or truth. For every great technology there’s always a downside. On the flip side, I don’t have the time for tweets and blogs except rarely; I don’t text and I don’t have a bluetooth.

    Margaret Tacoma, WA

  53. 61 Liew Kevin
    August 18, 2009 at 18:28

    As we become more open. Identity theft becomes a security measure.

  54. 62 Xena
    August 18, 2009 at 18:34

    I would be reluctant to publish medical information given the current state of health insurance in the United States. Insurance companies can use that information against you to deny insurance coverage. Also, there is still a lot of discrimination against illness like aids or mental illness. Unfortunately, in the United States, people publish this type of information at their own peril.

  55. 63 T
    August 18, 2009 at 18:36

    Journalists declaring who they vote for has been a standard policy in the neocon MSM in the States. When Fox News started, Chairman Roger Ailes would ask applicants point blank what their political views were.

  56. 64 Miles
    August 18, 2009 at 18:38

    In about 2002 I put my life online: http://www.documentedlife.com/autodocumentary.htm

    People contacted me from all around the world (it was Yahoo site of the day, at one point). I found those contacts to be somewhat rewarding.

    I have since continued to update my online biography, but I’m not particularly focused on or interested in this project.

    One advantage to putting your OWN version of your life online is that, if you are a public person, no matter what other versions of your life others may tell, at the least you have your story out there, and it will probably rise to the top of the google rankings, or at least be easily found.

    I guess I think that in a world where there is nowhere to hide, sometimes the best strategy is good offense – tell your story or others may tell it for you. However in my case, I’m not famous and I have no worries about other people telling my story, so my web site is not needed for those purposes.

    I do not tell everything about my life. I see no reason to. But I did like the idea (in artistic terms) of portraying a comprehensive life portrait, and because I collected my own photos, I was the most readily available subject for such an experiment.

  57. 65 katie
    August 18, 2009 at 18:38

    I don’t use Facebook or Twitter or the like, because I am busy living life. I find tools like Yahoo Answers (or similar sites) and product reviews by users to be quite helpful, but that is about the extent of my ‘transparency’ on the web. In terms of health information, of course that can be very helpful for people to have access to, and/or discuss, but I feel that anonymity has great value online.

  58. 66 Katie in Ohio
    August 18, 2009 at 18:39

    I’ve always said, whatever you post online, you’ve got to be prepared to own tomorrow, next month, and 5 years from now. The internet has a long memory thanks to the advent of search functions. I do tend to share a lot on Facebook and other social network sites, but I am comfortable with doing so. I truly have no skeletons in my closet, and I’m not shy about discussing my imperfections, my smallish income, or my opinions online.

  59. 67 steve
    August 18, 2009 at 18:40

    @ Shannon

    If you want information about illnesses you can go to a library, or better, a doctor, like you’re supposed to. I would rely last on the internet for my health, but there are still other resources available online for health issues that don’t involve twitter or facebook. If anything, this would probably discourage people from visiting practitioners.

  60. 68 Kelly from Portland, OR USA
    August 18, 2009 at 18:40

    Working for a corporation, there seems to be a new expectation that all corporations MUST be transparent all the time and engage in or respond to every online conversation. That would in many cases be a negative thing to do for company stakeholders, in the case of future product plans, for example.

    There is a natural and growing tension from customers who want immediate & transparent access to corporations and legitimate reasons these corporations cannot respond in every case. Companies must find a balance and choice still must rule.

  61. 69 Kellen Jackson
    August 18, 2009 at 18:41

    It may be that people aren’t talking enough about the benefits of transparency but we have to understand that that is only the case because the costs of increasing transparency are so potentially enormous.

    Someone could steal your ideas. An insurer might choose not to insure you on the basis of your medical history. An employer might fire you because you purchased competing products. A government might arrest you on the grounds of what books you happen to have checked out of the library. And in a transparent world it’s difficult to imagine how anyone could protect themselves from identity theft.

    The issue here is not so much control as it is trust. We might reap the benefits of a transparent world if we all trusted our institutions and our fellow citizens but at the moment that is far from the case.

  62. 70 steve
    August 18, 2009 at 18:42

    Ros, asking to pick out the babble from the valuable information on Twitter is like looking for literature in comic books. If you want “quality” you don’t go to twitter. It’s like finding serious news on the Onion. YOu don’t go there for serious news.

  63. 72 Barbara in Boston
    August 18, 2009 at 18:43

    Sharing useful information is a wonderful thing because it can and will benefit thousands. However, airing one’s dirty laundry, i.e., the infamous Gosselin family here in the United States, is another.

    August 18, 2009 at 18:46

    What to reveal is my own business. I think it is healthy for people to learn to be open. Right now they have to learn it because it as if we have conformed to the templates of government and industry who view power in terms of secrecy. This too throws us into another conflict of interest. We may develop into a society governed by fear to express ourselves as we become increasingly policed by fear. Do not forget that there are secrets that do not qualify to be secrets yet some people believe so do to cultural pressure.

  65. 74 Eileen in Virginia
    August 18, 2009 at 18:47

    It’s appalling to think that a person’s health history, whereabouts, marital status etc should be transparent to all. What about battered wives who are hiding from abusive husbands? People needing protection from abusive spouses during a divorce settlement? Keeping sensitive health problems to oneself? Broadcasting suicide attempts which might subsequently preclude a job offer? Keeping information out of the hands of stalkers? Revealing a prison sentence to people who have no right to know? You can all surely add a hundred instances to that short list, of times people would prefer not to share information?

    The public does not have the right to speculate or gossip about every person, or even satisfy their curiosity.

  66. 75 Miles
    August 18, 2009 at 18:47

    In general, the idea of “putting your life online” is colored by the tools people are using. The version of your life that you put on line can be detailed or general, real time or delayed.

    Many tools enable people to put their life online on terms that they do not really control.

    The question is, do people have the tools to put their life online on terms that they choose, and that they would choose if they were fully informed?

  67. 76 Keith- Ohio
    August 18, 2009 at 18:48

    I also think that if a person’s life is completely transparent to the public, their personal relationships are regrettably devalued. Some of the public media think that the public has a “right to know” anything and everything about a person. Larry King, for instance, has been known to profess such a thing. It’s disgusting that someone would believe that their “right to know” is more important than an individual’s right to privacy and a personal life.

    The general public does not have a right to know everything about a person or celebrity, that privilege is reserved for the person’s circle of loved ones, or maybe even the person himself, to be revealed at his discretion. This privilege must be earned.

  68. August 18, 2009 at 18:49

    I can be totally transparent just when dealing with people. The charm of life is to have a private life with personal secrets. There is nothing bad in being a little mysterious as long as the mystery isn’t meant to harm anyone.

  69. 78 Paige
    August 18, 2009 at 18:52

    I write my blog about having Fibromyalgia under a screen name (completely unconnected to any of my public profiles) because I don’t want insurance companies ruling me out for this and that because they dug up my digital profile and found out I have pre-existing conditions. (cmon obamacare!)

    Until people can learn to be less crooked and stop using our information against us for their benefit, I will continue writing anonomously.

    ~Paige in Oregon

  70. August 18, 2009 at 18:59


    I have been collecting letters from all over the world from people who need to say something to someone else, but can’t say it face to face. People write letters to The Unposted Letters Project, http://unpostedletters.net as a way to purge, vent, confess or just express their feelings without fear of being judged, or criticized or humiliated. Many of the letter writers have expressed such sincere gratitude that this project exists, because the are left with a sense of relief…that a burden of silence has been lifted. The letters will be published in a book entitled “Unposted Letters.”

    I think everyone has a desire to be heard, but not everyone is willing to be so open and “transparent” about certain aspects of their lives.

  71. 80 archibald
    August 18, 2009 at 19:52

    @kelly from PDX
    Corporations are not people, despite their current loophole legal status. They should be required to reveal all. What would they have to hide? They are profiting from the general populace, they should also be beholden to them.
    It is a supreme act of meaninglessness to constantly be talking about what you are doing. I am with Steve on the Narcissism angle. Who the %#%* cares!!!! If you have something useful or necessary to impart fine, otherwise, just be quiet and enjoy the silence. Twittering twits!

    • 81 T
      August 19, 2009 at 04:08

      Actualy, in the States the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations do have many of the same rights as people. However, total transparency will never happen on either a corporate or personal level.

  72. 82 steve
    August 18, 2009 at 20:07

    @ Archibald

    I just went to the bathroom. i’ll let everyone know next time I go! Boy I can’t wait to have dinner, maybe I can have people vote on what I eat tonight! LOL.

  73. 83 T
    August 19, 2009 at 04:12

    If everything was transparent, that means there would be no need for libel, slander and defamation laws. This is turn would lead to millions of lawyers worldwide being sacked. Do you REALLY want to see your attorney standing on the unemployment line?

  74. August 19, 2009 at 05:23

    I picked this up by accident in the small hours as it failed to air at the published time.

    Some would agree that we should and they should ponder the thought if ‘should’ is changed to ‘must’ and live in a regime that has big brother intruding into your lives 24/7.

  75. 85 tojoe
    August 19, 2009 at 07:10

    In our part of the world the poor are most transparent…The moment people start getting better off more and more their life starts getting opaque ..the poor i guess dont have chance to have too much of a private life since they have single room or just a roof which they are already sharing with family and friends also walk into that space..so as u go up the wealth chain which is very relative kids start wanting to have thier own rooms own space..etc..so some times i feel why is it we want to have opaque life…once money starts comming in and we have the time and space i guess all of us want to try all the dark fantasies..or want to share less and less..also people dont even want to share the good things in life because of their own dbouts and fears..so probably more comfort u get in life more complicated ur mind gets

  76. August 19, 2009 at 08:53

    Majority of Nairobi city dwellers already live such kind of life…we live in huge slums where there has never been any privacy.its a fact to see that these slums became GLOBAL VILLAGES before THE INTERNET.

    tambua village(TV),

  77. August 19, 2009 at 12:35

    Transparency is a commodity we desire in the public market. It is good to be transparent but it does not mean one has to lose his/her privacy to people they don’t know.

  78. 88 Martin
    August 20, 2009 at 08:23

    I value my Privacy. I want nothing to do with these social sites like Face Book ect. I do not want my life to be viewed by all. I have nothing to hide..no huge “skeletons in the closet” .I do not want “Government ” in my life more than I have too. The life depicted in the book by George Orwell “1984” is not where I want to be. I am afraid this is the direction we are going in.

  79. 89 Dennis Junior
    August 21, 2009 at 04:10

    I think that the entire idea of transparent lives are great…But, I am afraid of the downside of people could steal my identity…

    =Dennis Junior=

  80. 90 Jackie
    August 25, 2009 at 15:51

    Well if you think about it…A lot of us share the same experiences but at different points in our lives. Sometimes when we experience something big, we keep it to ourselves because we do not want others to know and we may be embarrassed of it. But if you do share it, you will find, most likely , someone else who has or is experiencing the same issue and that might make you feel better knowing you’re not the only one.

    I mean, for example say you get aids. I am sure you would not feel so good about yourself and would not want to tell anyone….but if you were to share it with someone else who is experiencing the same thing, you Will feel better because you know you’re not the only one…and you never would have felt better if you did not open your mouth about it.

    Which is why I think leading a mostly transparent life is actually beneficial to you and others. We are all one…We all differ slightly, not by much, if you really think about….

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