Unusually for me, I’ve been away this week. I don’t tend to travel much with work, well, other than the occasional short journey between offices. This time, however, a work-mate and I were off down south for a two day technical workshop. It was very good to be both out of the office, and doing my old job: that of designing solutions and making things better. Much better than making things more complicated, but that’s by the by.
My overnight bag was, oddly, considerably smaller than the Thursday night bag I usually take. Just a shirt, some smalls, spare trousers and a wash kit. Compare that to the Full Mary that gets packed – nay, crammed? – into a much larger bag every other week. Either I’m not as fussy in bloke mode, or I find it easier. That, or perhaps a bloke’s wardrobe is easier to put together. Less patterns, darker colours, etc, but maybe I’m stereotyping. (Ed: and that’s not using the keyboard with both hands)
|Who holds the key?|
While away, I got talking to one of the system builders and we got into a chat about how people treat their privacy. Take for example this blog, it’s public and I’ve revealed some personal facts about myself (depression, early life, struggling with being trans, etc) and yet, paradoxically, it’s also a private space. Something hidden in the noise of the Internet and very much away from my home and work life.
So too do others, maybe not so much with blogs, although that happens to, but their personal data. People happily upload information into social media, photo sharing sites, or file synchronisation systems, without looking too deeply into the small print.
There’s also a generational aspect to it, or, at least, that’s what the software wizard explained. It seems the younger folk, or sometimes, tech folk too, are less worried about their privacy. Perhaps, having become used to technology, or maybe not as fussed over it, they happily sign up and use the service, trading their data and location for a ‘free’ service. At odds to that, are those less used to the technology, or those who wish to hang on to their private information.
Conversation drifted and I was reminded of a Radio Four programme, in which an academic researcher spoke about the concepts of privacy. The two extremes being your ability to lock everything away, against that of total openness. The idea of the latter, well, that gave me a brief jolt of fear. And then, pausing the playback, as I queued in the traffic, I wondered, what would life be like it we didn’t have, or attempt to keep, the privacy to the level we do now. Who would be shocked by my dual life? Would anyone care? Would I care? If enough people – part-timers, like me – were out, would it be less of a thing? Would the gossip run dry more quickly? Met with a shrug or a nod, something as unsurprising as a day out in the park.
I read on a t-blog last month, the author merging their two social media profiles and the non-event it seemed to cause. Sure, there will always be the small-minded, but as we (hopefully) move on as a society, and indeed, as a race, are we reaching a tipping point were being trans just isn’t a big deal any more? It is more that we make a big deal of it, struggling to work out how it applies to us and what it means for our lives?
Answers on a postcard to the usual address.