This post is going to be all over the place, as I’ve had enough caffeine to make a cappuccino nervous.
As I was strolling through the insanity of one Jakarta’s mega-malls this afternoon, two completely different thoughts crossed my cortex.
One – Being an expat (or tourist, traveller) staying in a country that speaks something other than your first language, you tend to have much more time to think while in public. Instead of picking up on the conversations of those around you (ok, eves-dropping), as in your home country, laziness sets in and you stop trying to decipher what everyone is saying. I find that even when in extremely crowded places, I can still remain focused on the ramblings in my head almost how you can become deep in thought while riding a thunderous lawn mower. I see it as a potential benefit that I haven’t been disciplined enough to become fluent in Bahasa Indonesia. 😉
Which leads to random thought number Two – Every single thing we post and write on the ‘net is potentially catalogued and archived forever (thanks to Google for the most part). No, this is not a new revelation, but still think about that for a moment. If any future employer, spouse, child, student, teacher, co-worker, stalker (yes, I’ve been stalked more than once), or otherwise ultra-interested individual wishes to conduct a background check, think of all the digital footprints we’ve left in the binary sand. People sometimes ask me why I no longer post such ‘opinionated, condescending, or otherwise obnoxious perspectives’ – (are you saying my blog has become dull? 😉 ) – well, I’d say that’s a pretty strong incentive. For those souls who choose to remain anonymous on the web, this isn’t an issue, they’re free to spout off about any topic under the sun without worry. I’ve been hit by many of those ‘trolls’ who hide under the cover of anonymity – emailing me with personal attacks, but never giving away their identity. I, on the other hand, clearly have thrown my full name on the home page – and therefore must be a bit more sensible. I find that writing can sometimes help blow off some steam from the frustrations that occasionally arise from living here – or anywhere for that sake. Without the license to bitch, I do find that some of my motivation for writing has dissipated.
As I contemplate returning to the States in a year from now, these are things I must consider. How many of you have Googled (I can’t believe they own that term now – like ‘Rollerblades, Kleenex, etc’) your own or someone else’s name? Be honest. I truly don’t have too much to hide, but it may prove to be a mark against you if you’ve left your place on the web in any way. Itd be like your boss asking if you were in a fraternity in university you never know if he was a frat guy, or thought they were pretty boys purchasing friends.
Additionally, thoughts, perspectives, and opinions change as we age. The posts I wrote in 2002 may have no bearing on my opinions these days much less in ten years from now. This leads me to this thought – in the State of Michigan, youre allowed about 4 speeding tickets before they take away your drivers license (my first car had a V8). After 3 years, these tickets drop off of your record (or so they say), and you start with a clean slate, and a much-reduced insurance premium. Thats simply not the case for the digital highway of today.
So, what’s the answer? Should we continue to be weary of “big brother” and clam up, or rather, say ‘screw it’ and realize that people have their own opinions and anytime you voice them on the web, you simply must be open to criticism? I’d actually prefer to be more open with my writing again. I’ve removed (the link to) two years of my archives (well – they’re still out there somewhere), simply because my words were quite biased at times and I was tired of the backlash. But now I feel as if I’ve lost a bit of the drive that was pushing me to start a blog in the first place as a way to share my experiences with those who care to listen for good or bad.
Perhaps I’m at a crossroads – needing either to open up more of my personal thoughts and opinions for this blog, or to simply maintain a photoblog with minimal writing so as to avoid the complications that arise from expressing yourself in ones and zeros for the whole world to see.
What do you think?