Thursday, January 19, 2012
Privacy: Knowing So Much, Yet So Little
I never considered myself to be an overly paranoid person, but one does have to be careful. Especially online when really anyone could be behind the keyboard. It seems that those who truly do have questionable motives or are predators tend to get naturally weeded out, though. They run their game on so many people that word gets around and everyone learns what to watch for and who to avoid. But in the online world, they can always just create a new fake persona and start all over again. Somebody must be falling for it or they all would've faded away by now, right? The big upside to the internet age is that so many of us with this kink can so easily connect and know that we aren't alone. There are groups and forums for discussion and blogs like this one where we can read and interact and learn. But at the same time, the downside seems to be that we can so easily connect. You don't always know who you are really talking to. Discretion has to come into play.
When discovering the spanking world, I was amazed by all the people who were out there who thought the same way I did. Finding a group to chat with about these things was incredible. When you are sharing such deep thoughts and desires that you have kept secret for so many years, it almost seems silly to worry about someone knowing something like your first name. On this very blog, so many of you have followed along with my ups and downs and innermost feelings. Yet we could pass each other on the street and not know who the other was. Isn't that a bit strange? I don't disagree with keeping certain things private, because sadly it can be necessary. People worry about being outed and losing their jobs or their spouse finding out or whatever. Everyone has their own reasons.
Those of us who have been around for a while have formed many friendships. Many of these do cross over the line of "scene friend" into our everyday lives. I'm happy to have made all the friends that I have, whether I know them online only or we've met many times and played. Even if I haven't met someone in person, they are no less a friend. But the ones that have crossed over into my every day life took time. Would you sit down with a stranger at the mall and automatically tell them where you live and work? Of course not. The same goes for online interactions. Anybody who is trustworthy and a friend won't push you for details. It was years into friendship before I had a few people come to visit and welcomed them in my home. Even just last month, I actually had to ask someone who I've talked to nearly daily for the past two years, "hey what's your last name so I can send you a package for Christmas?" I felt a bit ridiculous even having to ask and we both had a laugh over it. But that's just how it is sometimes.
I had concerns about privacy when I started this blog. Not just for my own, but for those I play with and what details I share. Discretion is needed there, too. There are many things I don't share and information I leave out that is personal. If there's a certain scene I have that I'm thinking of writing about, I will always ask the other person involved if they mind if I write about it and even if they have a preference of how I refer to them. I often just use initials or their scene name, but I always ask. Even the top I lovingly refer to as "Mr. Grumpypants" was well aware I was going to share his new nickname. Lol. I'll often email the link to the blog post I write to the person so they can read it. If there was ever a problem with something I wrote, I'd edit or remove it. These are all things I think about because I'd hate for someone to feel like I'd crossed a line. The first party I ever attended after starting this blog, I thought about jokingly carrying a disclaimer in my pocket and asking them to sign it after our scene, agreeing that it was okay for me to share what had happened. Never did do that though. Lol.
To anyone new to all this, I'd recommend to just use common sense. Go slow. Get to know someone fairly well before getting into more personal, especially vanilla, subjects. If someone chooses to share a lot of personal info with you early on, that is their choice. You don't have to reciprocate. If anyone does push for personal information early on, beware. You aren't obligated to tell anyone anything. If people pressure you to send a picture of yourself to prove that you are real, tell them to take a hike. If the time comes to exchange phone numbers, you can even protect your privacy there, too. Go look up Google Voice. You get to pick a phone number and it forwards calls and texts to that number to your real number. And it's a completely free service. If you have run into some assholes along the way, try not to get discouraged. There are a lot of good people out there in the spanking world and they are worth the time in getting to know. I've found that the friendships built over time are the ones that will blossom the most.