How many of you listeners know my real name? or my home address? Or my phone number? Not all that many, unless you know me from before the podcast. Why? That’s personal information and giving it out to strangers or people that dress like animals to have sex with other people is risky given the number of “weirdos” out there today. Given how most of you behave online, I can only imagine the kind of stuff that would start arriving at my doorstep if you had the chance.
What about other stuff…how many of you listeners know my wife’s name? Or the names and ages of my kids? Or what my parents do or where they live? Most of you I’d wager since I talk about them all the time on the show. How many of you know the name of the company I work for? Only a few probably, but you know damn well that I hate my employer and that I disparage them all the time on the podcast. You might not know my full name and address, but you know about my family and my job and a fair bit about my hobbies and lifestyle.
In this age of instant updates and complete transparency, what defines personal information? Mayor Ayla asked a question on the forums about “testing the limits” – in short she asked about sexual escapades. I could joke about it on the show knowing that I could rely on hyperbole to make it funny and interesting, but I’m not comfy sharing that kind of info on the forums. Odd that I have a boundary about that, but there it is. Talking about my sexual past, what little there is anyway, is too personal. I’ll rag on my sister and parents, and talk about a crap I took but I won’t talk about my sex life? Yup. Part of that is setting boundaries on what is okay to share and an even bigger part of that is respect for the people involved in the story – my parents and sister don’t listen to the show and never will so I am fine talking about them all day. My wife doesn’t listen, but we have mutual friends that do and I wouldn’t say anything disrespectful to my wife in person so I’m sure as hell not going to say it on the show, comedy or not.
A scant few steps further down this road leads us to social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and GoogleSpace Minus or whatever it is called. There is an inherent risk to all of the hosts of WombatCast (and damn near any other podcast or blog) that someone that can impact our careers or futures might stumble upon the show….Google is pervasive in the recruiting field nowadays and being on record talking about a small pony made of shit wearing a sombrero might be misunderstood by some pasty-faced corporate recruiter. Maybe not everyone thinks misogyny and racism is funny, even when talked about in jest and with only comedic intentions. I actually took WombatCast off of my LinkedIn as I am looking for a new job and having a link to our blog where I put this kind of stuff could actually hurt my chances. As it is, a quick Google search of my name brings up a couple things. Hmmm…no wonder I can’t find a new job.
It is a risk that we are all willing to take though. I spew some pretty heinous, but humorous, stuff on Twitter, and because my Twitter feeds my Facebook they all see it as well. It is my outlet on most days and it lets me say the things in my head without needing to be on mic and without needing to worry about saying it in-person. That is the risk and the reward – social media and living our lives online and in public to some degree allows us to share as much or as little of our lives as we want, but it opens us up to public review.