This site is mine.
I write what I like.
I answer only to myself.
OK, which of the above statements are true? Well you’d think all of them, wouldn’t you. At the very least the first two. Surely?
When I started this site, it was merely a placeholder for my thoughts and rambles. The bulk of the content was longer ‘pieces’, either about me directly, or about a topic or article I’d recently read.
I moved to a ‘blog’ format and the bulk of the content now sits there. I react to articles and feelings, without much forethought in many cases, but I still fight the desire to write exactly what I think. Why?
Why should I censor myself?
“The views expressed here are my own and do not represent those of any other party mentioned within or by this site.”
If I choose to lower myself to the level of name calling, that is surely my right. If I want to complain about a current situation at work, that is surely my right. If I want to spout forth about the way I see things and how everyone else is wrong, that is surely my right.
It’s obvious that the main issue here is not the possiblity of what I write upsetting people, but a matter of appropriateness. I try NOT to comment on anything about my work, there are well documented and previously mentioned cases of people losing jobs over comments made on their personal website concerning work conditions or colleagues. It is sorely tempting, especially with the current climate in the I.T. industry, and, as with every place of work, there are plenty of problems. The ability to rant about these problems, to ‘no-one’, is ever present, and I am constantly fighting the base desire to speak out.
From a professional point of view, any comments I post here would be pointless anyway, if the problems lies within the company, then I should be tackling the problem directly, so is it cowardice that makes me want to turn to my website? I don’t think so, and hopefully anyone who has sat in a meeting with me would agree, I am usually very vocal, and I’ll quite happily be the person who speaks out, even if it is to the detriment of my own standing. (Never liked office politics, and try and stay out of them if I can).
Personal issues are a different kettle of fish. Mainly because I see them from a differing viewpoint. Professionally criticism is a necessity, and I understand that if someone has a dig at me in a meeting, I can still share a joke and a pint with them afterwards. There is rarely a personal agenda at work.
So how do I handle personal issues? Things I feel passionately about – prejudice, particularly rascism, my thoughts about religion, particularly catholicism – all fall into my field of vision, but rarely do I bite. I have made a few acquaintances through this website, and my views differ from theirs on a few things. That’s only to be expected, I’m very much a believer in live and let live, but only when you apply it to others, I don’t seem to be able to extend the same philosophy to myself. I am constantly aware of what I say sounding obnoxious, contrite, or insulting to someone, so I don’t say it. Is this denial worthwhile?
The essential problem seems to be the difference between what I would say and what I would write. I’ve always found it easier to write down my thoughts and feelings. This can easily be attributed to avoidance of conflict, and a lack of confidence in how others perceive me. This appears to be a common problem, with many others, venting/ranting/moaning online, on a multitude of topics, many of which I doubt they would take up with the people they are talking about.
So why do I self-censor?
Is it healthy, where else can I release this? Friends, family and work colleagues know about this site, and a few may be reading this (hello!), are there things I would say about them that I wouldn’t say to their face(s)? Of course there is, if the internet didn’t exist I would still self-censor myself, it’s part of who I am.
I self censor to control my thoughts. I self censor to ensure what I say accurately reflects what I am thinking. I self censor for that’s who I am.
World leaders take note, it actually works.