Everything’s Now On the Record

It wasn’t that long ago that most of led pretty private lives. We spent time with our families and friends, worked and – once in a blue moon – did something that attracted the attention of others (i.e. won an award, earned a promotion, or happened to be interviewed by a reporter, which used to be a big deal). As a result, our lives were mostly off the record.

Today, everything’s different.

With digital technology, wireless devices, high-speed networks and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, there is no off the record anything more. Instead, we’re increasingly living on the record lives.

For example, do you remember all those crazy things you did many years when life was fun and there were few responsibilities? There were probably a lot of moments that you’re happy let live in the past. These days, that’s pretty much impossible because it’s more than likely your friends have documented those moments with their cameras or cell phones, and shared them online via Facebook, Flickr, or on a blog, etc. Now, all those moments are public and on-the-record.

Now when someone wants to know more about you (i.e. an employee, someone you’ve asked out), all they need to do is search online for all the on-the-record details.

To be honest, the idea of having an on-the-record life makes me a little uneasy even though I’ve had more of a public live than many people given my previous career (newspaper journalism) and the fact I’ve been writing a blog since 2004. Still, I’m still trying to my head around Facebook and how it serves to give people a view into who you are and what you’re doing/done – even if they are your “friends”.

I mean, do my “friends” really need to publicly see what books I’m reading or movies I’ve seen or groups I’ve joined or what I’m doing? This explains why I’ve tried to keep my Facebook profile mostly work-related given you really don’t seem to have much of a choice these days whether to part of Facebook or not.

And while Facebook will continue to grow by leaps and bounds, do not be surprised if you started to see people drop off and drop out after the novelty wears off and they start to realize maybe it’s time to have less of their lives on the record.

Note: This is the first post of my summer vacation blogging series, which means it will be more thoughts-focused than news-focused. Enjoy.

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