Your whole life on record

The ‘viral’ YouTube video that Bill took of me at Podcamp Toronto is up to 65 views. The day before it went up, Bob asked: “Are you sure you want me to put this online?” To which I said, sure.

Before I had a podcast, I used to be scared of people seeing me look stupid. I couldn’t have anyone know about a fight with my girlfriend, say something utterly dumb, or have embarrassing stories told about me. I went to great lengths to prevent people from seeing that I made mistakes.

The reality, of course, is that we all look stupid from time to time. The freedom to do so is something that we rarely allow ourselves, but living online has given me the ability to be comfortable with it like never before. Now, I would never go back to the shame of things remaining private.

These days, I live my life as if a camera is always on me. It means honesty is always on my mind, because anything could potentially come back later. And when a camera actually does show up, I really couldn’t care less what it records– after all, what people see really will be me. I’ve mostly gotten over shame, so how could that be a bad thing?

Over time, we’re going to see more and more people do this and, as they do, the level of trust people will have in them will increase. If you’re an online personality, the best thing you could do is open this gate. Take a look at the results; they may surprise you.






11 responses to “Your whole life on record”

  1. Justin Avatar

    Honesty is why I love Anji Bee’s vlog, and she makes me smile.

  2. […] Julien Smith’s blog post on this topic […]

  3. Linda Avatar

    Having had the chance to see this attitude in action (when the video was played Sunday at PodcampToronto, which itself is viewable through the link), I was truly impressed with the sense that you really couldn’t care less.

    Thanks for the generosity in that honesty, which allows us all permission to be ourselves and not worry about constantly keeping ‘the persona’ in check.

    Julian, you give great shrug!

  4. hugh Avatar

    Funny, I have thought of this in the context of politics too. I worry sometimes, as North American governments drift towards more fascist approaches to security (suspension of habeas corpus, warentless wiretapping, extraordinary rendition), that people like me – liberal, critical, vocal – might be in trouble having all our opinions publicized on the net. For instance, if you were the FBI and for some crazy reason wanted to investigate me, you could find out just about everything you need to know about my politics by reading my blog, and by looking at my delicious links.

    that’s a bit scary.

    On the other hand, maybe the publicness of my beliefs, and those of other bloggers and online folk actually protects us somehow. that our privacy and political freedom is actually enhanced by the sheer volume of our public statements, and the netwok around them. Cracking down on dissent, for instance is easier when you are just shutting down one writer or one newspaper … on the net, maybe you are better protected because of how all these little public statements (even if only read by a few) fit into a larger network of similar statements.

    haven’t quite solidified my thinking on that, but that’s the outline.

  5. Matthew Avatar

    Hugh: I think your publicness might protect you in a different way (at least in North America). If you’re a known commodity, always throwing everything out there, the chances of you being accused of hiding something (like being a terrorist) would lessen. Why expend money wiretapping somebody when you can just read their blog.

  6. Bill Deys Avatar

    BTW It’s at 126 views now (Wed. Feb. 28 @ 8:30AM)

  7. […] Jules at his finest! Read why you should not feel restrained about your thoughts or actions from the man […]

  8. Whitney Avatar

    What this means to me is giving up being afraid. And this is really hard for a lot of people. This is something I’m working on myself- As I live out loud, share with friends, and basically open up my life to others, it brings so much more back to me than I ever could have imagined. Moreover, the critiques I get are more open and honest, but also kinder than I ever expected, too. It should always be about moving the conversation forward.
    This said, I think being open and honest even in this semi-anonymous world can leave you feeling vulnerable, but more human. Over at GNM Parents, I recently blogged about some very personal things, and it has left me feeling better and stronger, not more exposed.
    People say, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. I would rephrase this to include: If you don’t share, you will get nothing in return.
    And the best things in life start with sharing and community.

  9. anji bee Avatar

    Julien said: “These days, I live my life as if a camera is always on me.”

    oooh i wish it was… ok sorry for the scary stalker comment. couldn’t resist.

    seriously, though, start your vidcast soon!

  10. anji bee Avatar

    ok i’m back…

    i was just shopping at compusa, checking out speakers, and thought i’d use chillcast as a reference. looking it up on itunes store, i came across my vidcast and – wow – it suddenly hit me!

    anybody, anywhere – be it in compusa, college classrom, the white house, my ex-boyfriend’s apartment – can see me talking about my life with the simple click of a button. i totally had a hot flash moment of utter panic, wondering, “what am i thinking?”

    i guess i am still scared shitless about sharing the personal details of my life so openly in my vidcast.

    thanks for the props, justin.

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