November 01, 2015

The Older I Get, The Less Of A Filter I Have

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I drunk tweet. I often sit on the bus on the way home from an evening out with friends having pounded a few gin and tonics and have deep thoughts that I think the world wants to hear.

You’re not the next Kanye West, love.

Thoughts and ideas bubble up inside and instead on dwelling on them while listening to a slow, eery Jose Gonzalez mash-up. I spill. And spill and spill. Except, in the morning, through sober eyes, I just sound like a drunk parrot, repeating the same thoughts over and over. I don’t get to the tweets until lunchtime most days, as I have memory blank, and after I’ve cooked scrambled eggs I’ll log onto to Twitter and my eyes will fall out of my head. The black cloak of embarrassment washes over me.

I have no filter.

I don’t want to – not when it comes to writing – or sharing feelings or ideas.

If you have any sort of online social profile, you have successfully entered into leading a “public life”. Congratulations! They say, when you’ve signed up to a new social network: you’ve signed up to have your life as an open book. It’s only scary if you think about it for too long, that most things can be accessed. Location settings. Life milestones. Browser history. Personal messages.

Goodbye privacy, it was nice knowing ya. Is it petrifying that anyone really could find out where you are through a series of clues. Also: don’t make the same mistake as my friend did last week, being “off sick” and cancelling on a date, and then uploading five drunken selfies to Twitter that same night.

Moral of the story: keep your stories consistent.

Whatever you tweet could (heaven forbid) appear on the Daily Mail front page with one click of the mouse. There’s the story of the intern who tweeted that a famous journalist looked like a “horse” and was soon found out and fired, and in the Metro newspaper the next day. This is where we live. This is how we live now. Without really realising it, we have completely signed away our privacy — especially with Twitter, there’s no way of going back once you’ve hit publish. There are even tools now that can retrieve deleted tweets back. That’s what teachers will begin to teach in the classroom: “kids, just remember, there’s always an archive.”

And this is only going to get worse. And we are only going to get more casual towards this idea of signing our lives away to the Internet. It’s gone from sharing the odd photo here and there to having to update the public world on every move we make, every step we take, they’ll be watching you — whether or not anyone actually cares. But it’s still addictive to share, this is why human beings are becoming more intelligent as the web evolves;

Knowledge Is Power.

David Armano, a very clever chap and ex-colleague of mine wrote a piece for Medium called “Your Life is Public and You Need a Filter”. He recalls tales of people asking him about moments in his life that he would himself have had forgotten about, proving how closely his life is followed online even if people weren’t directly engaging with it. I bet you’ve experienced something like this at some point, where you come in to work and start to tell people about your weekend and they answer “yeah, we know” — as you’ve probably already posted about it online and they’ve gone through all the photos that show your weekend minute by minute. What a sad thought, to be so public that you are boring to everyone when engaging in face-to-face communication. By telling someone you are repeating yourself. They already know.

Another interesting point Armano touches on is the fact that living your life in public can be slightly risky if you have no filter. Like a new brand entering the marketplace, you’d have to be quite careful, you’d have to establish a tone of voice, or a set of guidelines if you will — basically you could f*ck it up quite easily. It’s the same with people now, who have their own persona online. If you tweet the wrong thing, or say something out of order, your relationships or job could be in jeopardy. He explains what a filter is:

“Your filter is the voice inside your head and heart that says “if you post this then that could happen — do you want that and are you willing to take the risk”? A filter is the thing that stops every single random thought that pops into your head from being spoken or written.’

My question, to follow on from this, is who, or what is your filter and how do you find one? How do you know what to filter out and what not to? For example, I write lots of blog posts, but only some get posted. Some are in my drafts folder, or they are locked with a password. Some things do NOT need to be posted, or it might be that it’s just not the right time, and at some point, when things aren’t so raw, they can go online. My filter is a mixture of my own common sense, but it’s also words and advice from my best mate. Sometimes I’ll discuss an idea, a thought, or a post, or let her read it and she’ll give me the nod or the shake of the head. You need someone else who is close to you that can act as your filter, too.

Your filter should also be the feedback you get. It should also be what you feel comfortable with. I think at the moment people are obsessed with posting just to get a response. I’m guilty of that too. Soon I think people will learn to filter: the good, the bad and the ugly.

We’re all guilty of posting noise.

  • Wise words, Emma! My rule for social media is no ‘funny’ tweets about real people – no negative tweets about any real person. Essencially it ties back into what you said before about being nice. I’ve made a few little social mistakes in the past, so now it’s all about being nice to people and funny if it’s about me. I probably don’t reach that goal, but I’m trying 🙂

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