[Air-l] Re: ssage: an Ess-ian Q: when does the personal becomes public?

stuszyn at bgnet.bgsu.edu stuszyn at bgnet.bgsu.edu
Mon Sep 5 17:53:15 PDT 2005

>Jeremy Hunsinger jhuns at vt.edu
>Mon Sep 5 10:32:31 PDT 2005
>therefor, i think people should always tell people
when things are  
>meant to be private or held in confidence, otherwise
you have to  
>expect people to interpret the situation on their

So, in other words, none of us has any expectation of
privacy whatsoever, unless we make a disclaimer at the
start of a every single interaction?

That seems like a fast way to break down all
communication in a society. If I have to preface every
single interaction, face to face or not, with "this is
private so don't quote me or repeat this to anyone"
people who I talk to are going to think I've become so
paranoid as to be completely non-functional. 

A dinner table conversation is a private interaction
between the people at the table. Yes, it's in a public
space and there are (or can be) more than two people
involved and yes, other people who are not supposed to
be hearing the conversation can overhear it. But they
know that's "eavesdropping" and not something they are
intended to be hearing. Everyone in that restaurant
knows that what they overhear from another table is a
conversation they are not supposed to be hearing and
aren't part of, and, one assumes, even if they repeated
it later, they would be unable to repeat with names
attached since they are outside of what was a private
interaction. Apparently in this case someone at the
actual dinner table in question missed the memo.

To take the contents of that dinner conversation and
put it in a blog is rather like going around not just
to every table in that one restaurant but a whole bunch
of restaurants advertising what was formerly a
conversation between a limited number of people and
giving their names out. It takes something confined to
a specific sphere of interaction (with the requisite
expectations of that sphere) and puts it on a stage,
altering the expectations entirely. 

I've seen a number of issues lately on various blogs
regarding linking to other blog discussions and what
happens when a post that, while open to the public, is
suddenly thrust into the spotlight by being linked and
garners a lot of attention. When the author is
completely unprepared for it, the results have in every
case been not pretty. The authors have no apparent
defense because they were speaking in public, but the
fact that their expectation was different from the
reality doesn't seem to justify for a lot of people
their discomfort. In other words, this is an issue
spreading far and wide beyond just academics worried
that every conversation they have could suddenly become
 a matter of record.  

Stephanie Tuszynski

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.
It has no survival value. Rather, it is one of the
things that give value to survival." --C.S. Lewis.

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