Mathias Vestergaard Corp.

Creative Misfit

Public vs. private life

Published on November 17th, 2008

 

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On the street style website www.gademode.dk there has recently been a debate about censoring negative comments. Some contributors found us too strict, in the way that we censor too much. I joined the debate in order to add my perspective, and suddenly someone also commented on my book-project, even though this was not really part of the discussion. My friend Helle later told me that she had found it uncomfortable on my behalf that someone knew about this project and pulled it into the discussion. This situation made me think about a recurrent theme in my life (and in the lives of many others) namely the distinction between public and private life. The development of personal websites in the 90’s and through MySpace and Facebook now, has created a platform where everyone can publish parts of their private life, thus making their lives public property. I don’t want to sound technophobic – this is not about avoiding Facebook or never sharing anything online. I personally share a lot of myself online. What I would like to argue is simply that the difference between what is private and what is made public reflects a choice, instead of merely replicating what others do.

For me, almost everything in my professional life is publicly available in some form. I write articles, give speeches and tell everyone what I do. Some projects fail miserably, and this is no secret. Furthermore, my contact info is also readily available. If you for instance, find me on Facebook, you can have at least some insight about my friends and who they are.

So where is the limit? If you browse my Facebook or website pages you won’t be able to see much about my family. You might notice that it says “in a relationship” and maybe you could track the person down in some way or the other. But the point is: you won’t find photos from our romantic trip to Moscow. You won’t even know if we actually went to Moscow. But why not show your love online? Why should it be secret? For me, there is no perfectly rational reason for this, although I would argue two points here. First,  if I would pull my family and girlfriend into my public life, I don’t leave them a choice. What if they don’t want to be public property? Secondly and finally, my relationship with my girlfriend and family is not improved by public display (in contrast to my professional life, where my projects often need the attention of others).

 

See also: Re-launching Eventuelt, Follow me on Twitter, Project: GadeMode™,

 

This entry was filed under Blog.