Accountability and Shared Experiences

I work and live alone. As a web developer, my day-to-day is largely spent in front of a screen, flying solo.

In fact, I work to create opportunities we can all experience in our own little personal glass spheres.

How does this happen? How can we still be “alone” with the many social networks, developer communities, and use of Slack in the workplace, but it is definitely true: we as internet users spend an increasing amount of time in custom-made ever-shrinking private bubbles.

“No duh, CK, that’s been true for a long time! Why bring this up now?”

Well, I’m getting married in one month. :)

I desperately want to share the cool things I’m working on with my wife. There are lots of ways to do this, but it wasn’t until a friend and I were playing around with Snapchat that the isolation really hit me. I was bummed to realize that there was nothing he and I were doing that I could share with my wife-to-be.

I’ve been connected to teh interwebs for nearly two decades, and just now stumbled over this truth: the little moments we have through our phones are never truly accessible to anyone except us.

“That’s the point: everyone gets to contextualize their experience!”

…but what if that’s not good? Or at least, what if it’s not _best?_

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” — Morpheus, The Matrix

You don’t have to look very far to see how deep this rabbit hole goes. As our personal bubbles shrink, the transparency into what horrible things men — women as well, though far less often — do with the freedom of instant access to anything in existence. This always-connected, hyper-social ecosystem demands an honest look at how mankind tends to live primarily for their own happiness, even at the expense of others.

“So go off-grid if you don’t like it, CK. There’s a lot of good out there.”

You’re right. In fact, I’m such a believer in those good areas, that I’m looking for more ways for me and my family to share what we do online. Check back with me in a year, because by 2017 I’m going to have turned these decades of internet know-how into a small business we can work on, together.

But that doesn’t change one crucial detail: I want to share my entire life with my wife, and hopefully with children as well. I don’t want the anonymity, the isolation, or the individualized context for my day-to-day interactions anymore. Everything that I do will be preserved for all of history, no doubt there, but I’d like to take that to an eleven.

“Isolation” — XKCD

I want my family to have the same access to my life as someone does on Twitter, Instagram, Anchor, Snapchat, Facebook, etc.

“You seem like a pretty good guy, though. Why the stress?”

Not having accountability — living in our tiny glass spheres — is not a groundbreaking conversation. I have lived online for a long time; I consider starting a new (offline) home, I would be planning to fail if I weren’t honest about the level of exposure that I really want to have in place. Maybe that’s sharing my phone passcode with my wife, putting a glass door on our home office, or teaching our children how to use social media instead of turning them loose? One of those things I could do right away, and all I know is that this is the time to think about the rest.

Whatever it takes to ensure safety for my family and transparency in our home, I’m all in. I do not plan to take any steps back from working and living online…but I don’t want to do any of it alone, ever again.


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