'public' vs 'private' on tumblr
increasingly, i am running into the following viewpoint: that all posts people make are, by default, open to the public and available to be commented on by strangers, regardless of stated wishes in tags, readmores, topics of conversation, etc
the argument seems to be that because tumblr itself is a public space, anything posted on tumblr is also, because tumblr, unlike livejournal (where many of us are from), has no ability to do filtering or friends lock on posts
and i for one have to say i don’t get it? take a step back from your own opinions on the matter for a second, and i’ll tell you a story. say you are meeting with an old friend, and wish to have a conversation. you two decide to meet in a coffee shop. while your friend is talking about difficulties with their new relationship, another person that neither of you know approaches your table and comments on what an awful person your friend is for being frustrated with their partner for [insert reason here].
generally speaking, you are going to respond to someone like this with ‘wtf i don’t know you leave us alone.’ say in this case you do. the person gets very offended at you and tells you ‘you’re in a public space!’
while they are technically correct, social norms and general politeness, generally speaking, dictate that what they have done is Not A Thing People Should Do. being in a public space, shockingly enough, does not void your right to have a private conversation without a stranger eavesdropping on you.
so why are we so resistant to this idea on tumblr?
I’m not sure I completely understand this because tumblrs and public twitters are for butting in. For instance, I am butting in on this post right now. On Livejournal if someone apologized for butting in on a comment thread I’d be like, GURL. I AM HERE TO TALK TO EVERYONE. DON’T FEEL BAD. Y’all, I tag THE FUCK out of my posts. Anyone could stumble upon anything at any time, even Louis Tomlinson himself, but my thing is, I’m not actively pushing it on anyone. Go ahead and find it, but the point is I’m not giving it to you.
I think this entire conversation’s language needs to shift. Tumblr is not a private space. This should not be about “privacy” but rather about “COMFORT”. People are UNCOMFORTABLE with their posts being linked to by outside sources or reblogged out of control. I will make an analogy.
Let’s say Robert Pattinson is outside. Poor old Robert “I Regret So Much” Pattinson just wants to walk from his house to his car without any trouble, but he is surrounded on all sides by paparazzi snapping photos of him so that ONTD can make a Robert Pattinson Walking post about him. He doesn’t want these people taking photographs of him and he tells them so. He asks them to stop. He tells them what they’re doing makes him upset. Do they stop? Of course not. It’s their job, and it’s not like they’re taking pictures of him naked in the shower, and they are human beings too, they totally understand how he feels, but they can’t stop. He’s outside where anyone can look at him, anyway, so what’s the big deal? Are the paparazzi a bunch of assholes? I think so. They aren’t necessarily invading his privacy, because it is true that he’s outside where anyone could see him and take a picture, but they do make Robert Pattinson feel SUPER UNCOMFORTABLE, the same way someone linking to a public post or a public tweet against their express wishes or without their knowledge or consent would be.
Personal experience: Adult Larry Shipper Danielle Fishelgate. I don’t even really want to link to it because I don’t want to be further associated with that experience, but as some of you may recall, I had a completely public twitter exchange with Danielle Fishel about One Direction/Larry Stylinson which some Larry Stylinson tweens took out of context, along with some of my other tweets and my friend’s tweets, and compiled a post of screenshots of them to prove a point. My twitter is public because I want it that way and I want to talk to people and I want people to talk to me. However, it makes me VERY UNCOMFORTABLE that an outside source would link to it or make screenshots of it against my will and use it for themselves and their own purposes. It’s not an invasion of my privacy, but it’s a violation of my comfort. I don’t participate in fandom to be made to feel uncomfortable about myself. Doing something like linking to public posts or tweets against someone’s wishes or without their permission in an article or in a new post obviously isn’t ILLEGAL or INHERENTLY EVIL, but it’s mortifying and humiliating. Maybe I can’t rely on the kindness of strangers not to make me uncomfortable, but sorry if I’m naive if I want to be able to rely on the kindness of friends and peers to allow me to feel comfortable with what I attach my name, presence, words, and interactions to, regardless of how public it is to begin with.
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