The Right to Remain Secret


Where can I write something that’s guaranteed private anymore? Communication is permanent. Instant messenger conversations used to be lost when the window closed; now Facebook conversations are kept forever. Who do you trust with an e-mail?

I am a pendulum of on-track and fucked-up. The more I want to put into improving myself the more destructive I want to be when I can make an excuse for it. I led a boring life with insignificant problems when I had better, safer avenues of talking through them with trusted people. Now that communication has become based on text messages saved on two different phones, or a continuous string of Facebook messages that are made to look like they picked up where they left off, it takes greater trust and greater care to keep privacy intact.

This is why, or part of why, enhanced communication technology has stunted the purposes and needs that communication should serve. Forget the lost nuances of gestures, expressions, and inflections when communicating through writing rather than in person; there will be less said based on fear of a paper trail. The mass communication potential of posting something where everyone you know can read it removes the interpersonal aspect, the conversation that goes somewhere that can form a special bond. Forming a special bond leads to the trust to talk about deeper issues, but we’re losing that when status updates are the ways of talking to everyone we know.

It’s a cliché to say that the more ubiquitous communication is the less is being communicated. Most people say it because they heard somebody else say it and it sounds smart because it’s a critique of the way things have become. (They say it through the same means they’re criticizing, but we’re all hypocrites all the time whether through social media or not.) How many people who make that commentary are doing so because they’re living through the tough emotional consequences is unclear, though, because there’s no means for them to express this heart-to-heart.

A pendulum of on-track and fucked-up. But only the on-track stuff is supposed to appear in my timeline.


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