Is this (and other similar activities) transparency or the illusion of transparency? And even if it is only part-illusion, isn’t that a powerful (and scary) weapon?

I’m not trying to be paranoid or rage against censorship and/or spin . . . but I have concerns about the effects of the illusion of transparency and what is “reality.” I can assure you that I try very hard to be transparent on this blog. That I don’t try to hide who I really am – my faults, my fears, my thoughts. But regardless, I am still choosing what to reveal about myself and thereby shaping your perception of me. You may know a lot about me, but at the end of the day, you only know what I want you to know. (Yes, the same can be true in our physical space, but I’m not up for discussing all the differences between the physical and virtual relationships  tonight).

So when I read articles about the above, I wonder about the power and the effects (intentional and unintentional) of believing we are a part of the whole something, when we’re really only a part of what someone chooses for us to be a part of. Or feeling like we have a voice, and we’re seeing an accurate reflection of what others feel – when we’re only seeing a part (censorship aside, not everyone chooses to participate, so not every side is represented. You often hear from only the most passionate voices.)

What are your thoughts?



  1. I’ve wondered similar thoughts: what is really authentic? (And I’ve blogged about being inauthentic in my authenticity!) Even when I say I’m authentic, aren’t I choosing what part of me I reveal? It may be me, but is it all of me?

  2. This is certainly interesting. But when it comes to showing people what you want them to see, it is not exclusive to using technology. Even if you meet me in person, you are only going to see what I want you to see…

    So I think that technology is only an extension of what we also do outside of it. This is why prayer and discernment are so important. I think that we must also be careful observers and learn as much as we can about these people.

    I do appreciate the fact that they are using social media in that way because it opens up the discussion in ways that were not possible before. It just needs to be done with the cautions that you point out here…

  3. spaghettipie

    H – I agree! Who really is authentic?
    D – To your point and Heather’s, I agree. Ultimately “authentic” is still what we want others to see. One difference I do see, though, between online and physical, is that when we live in physical community, you can still “catch” me in raw moments of emotion – whether they are sad, angry, happy, etc. And when you see me, you can read all of my body language in addition to the words I say. Online, you are limited to the words I choose and the stories I decide to tell.

  4. true…
    I do still think that some people are as much masters at putting up a front in-person as others are at doing it online. Politicians are an extreme example, but people still only let you see what they want you to see regardless of the medium. I certainly agree that it may be much easier to catch moments of transparency in-person though… good points!

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