Monthly Archives: November 2009

Social Media and Self Censorship

A lot of us are drawn to social media due to what I believe is a shared human need – the need to connect with others. So if I’m to be found here on this blog, and on Twitter and such, why wouldn’t I feel free to open up and tell the world what’s on my mind?

Let me tell you a story. I have been on a few job interviews lately and one of them was with a well known not-for-profit entity that is associated with a particular religion. My recent background is in digital advertising sales, so an interview with a non profit is slightly discordant to begin with, but nothing I couldn’t manage. Here’s the rub: I went home and wanted to ‘tweet’ a link to a newspaper editorial, and then stopped myself cold. How would that piece ‘play’ to my prospective employer? (Not that my interviewer would necessarily even know what Twitter IS, but you never know.)

That’s just one example. How about this one: I politely decline an invitation to something I have absolutely NO interest in by apologizing and saying that I’m already booked that night. Then I have to go and note my calendar NOT to go to Facebook that night and post an update like “Watching Goodfellas for the 65th time and eating pizza – good times!”

I’m home sick with a cold and as I follow the health care reform bill, I have thoughts I consider sharing, but then decide not to. During the last presidential election, I watched heated debates take place all over various social media channels, and I stayed on the sidelines. It looked like most were just preaching to their own particular choirs anyway. And when there were the inevitable clashes, the results were usually horribly polarizing.

People used to say that there were three topics you needed to avoid in polite company – politics, sex and religion. It seems like when I am faced with this whole self censorship battle, the reason is generally traceable back to one of these topics. But I have never been one to shrink away from any kind of battle, so why does this one seem more difficult?

Does anyone else out there struggle with this or am I being silly?


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized