I recently read this great post on Sheila MacNeill’s Blog, one of the many reasons I thought it was a great post being that it was so open and honest. My favourite posts give an insight in to what was going on in the person’s head as their fingers hit the keyboard. Sheila explains that her feelings on the subject made her to write an article in a certain vein, but she couldn’t, the subject of the post interweaved with her own feelings about commenting on the subject.

I told her via twitter that I enjoyed the post because I thought it was honest, which made it an enjoyable read for me. I followed up by saying that I thought an open practitioner is not somebody who just posts stuff online so people can read it, but can really open up about how they feel about a subject and their position in reporting on it.

At the same time as I was tweeting Sheila, Scottish comedian Rob Florence tweeted something:

This Tweet, I guess, was about the recent Kanye West news article, whatever people may think of Kanye West I think the point that Rob is making is still a good one. An open practitioner is expected to put work and thoughts in places where they can be critiqued. Thinking about this and Rob’s Tweet made me feel kind of bad for my suggestion that we may only be called open practitioners if we aim to be honest. While I think that there is something to be said for being honest in your blog post it feels a bit hypocritical of me to type that while I sit here with a folder of half written blog posts on TOR and Tails. Do I go back and delete the Tweet? How honest is that? In a thread on Reddit around the idea of TOR and Tails I recently commented that there are things you may want to hide from your computer usage that do not make you a bad person for wanting to hide.

An age where we are encouraged to pump out consistent honesty through 160 characters is quite a scary one. As Rob points out, how would we survive if all these thoughts and feelings get analysed, sometimes to the extent that they become BBC headlines. The hot topics for me at the moment are honesty and privacy. Honestly, I feel really torn between them.

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1 Comment

Sheila MacNeill (@sheilmcn) · September 16, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Hi David

Thanks for this, and yes it is one of those first world, 21st century problems. But this audit of our every thought and word can’t be dismissed by ironic hashtagging. Although I do really try to be honest and open, I do have my own internal censorship — I guess we all should. Sometimes it works better than others. But I am aware of my digital identity, and increasingly how assumptions can be made via a 140 character tweet, and all too quickly someone could read tweet, not the post and make some unfounded assumption on my views. A key part of being an open practitioner (imho) is knowing when to be open. We all share everything, but I hope that when I do it means something – even if it is just to me.


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