Despite writing a newspaper column that often touches on my personal life, I place a lot of value on discretion.
"You get awfully personal," my father has observed to me on more than one occasion, a cautionary tone in his voice.
I've assured him that, no, I really don't. While everything I say is honest, I certainly don't open veins in the newspaper.
As a reporter, I do sometimes seek to get other people to do so.
My most oft-used word during interviews is "elaborate." I'm forever seeking to get people to peel away more layers of themselves. Call it a hazard of the job, call it plain old nosiness, but I often find myself very curious about other people's lives.
Social networking encourages that curiosity. In recent months, for example, I've noticed a number of relationship status changes or deletions, or women reverting to maiden names -- and I've wondered.
A relatively new development on Facebook -- Timeline -- has stripped us all even a little more bare. With the addition of this new feature, it is possible to look at every status every friend has ever posted.
In the same manner that I have the good sense to not discuss my politics, religion or deep, dark secrets in the newspaper, I have the same sense to not reveal those things on the Internet. However, there have been occasions where I must admit I've been a tad bit more open with my feelings than makes me comfortable now.
Therefore, I've been going on a bit of a trip down memory lane, as it were, perusing old status updates and deleting certain ones. In my case, this typically includes musings where I used certain unsavory words, sounded overly angry/bitter/judgmental, or put up articles that might permit someone to cast aspersions on certain political leanings I may or may not have.
That said, I make no apologies for my chastisement of those who wear midriff revealing shirts. That's just logic. I've also deleted certain off-color, mean-spirited or overly personal comments others have made.
"Like, when did you get skinny and bitchy?" one woman asked in response to a statement I made about misuse of apostrophes. So I'm currently mean and formerly fat? The latter is true, but don't go reminding me of it where others can see. Geez.
I have moments of saying what I feel in the moment, even if I shouldn't. My mother once told me I wear my heart on my sleeve. I do my best not to wear it on my Facebook page. I enjoy a forum for fairly active commentary, but refrain from bleeding on the Internet as much as I avoid bleeding on a newspaper page.
I have to confess, however, that wanting to strike a balance of guarding my own privacy and dignity while still being an open, communicative person has not quelled my curiosity about the lives of others.
That said, I don't quite understand the inclination to advertise feelings such as: "Why did my girlfriend leave me? Won't anyone ever love me?" or "I hate my job so much."
Yes, I do realize the inherent hypocrisy of this statement.
I don't think it's committing too much of an indiscretion to say that I've never been a perfect person.