After reading Selfe and Hawisher, "The Rhetoric of Technology and the Electronic Writing Class," I really started to think about this notion of the www as an omnipotent watchtower.
I love blogging and making my ideas heard, but I have become so fearful about putting anything online. First of all, I fear that if I post about a similar idea that’s been published under my authorship for the digital textbook company that’s employed me for the past 5 years, then I could possibly be sued for using my own ideas. I’m not sure how all that works, but it is a general fear of mine. Once I sell my ideas/writing, then they’re not mine to share anymore, right?
Another reason that I fear the omnipotent 'watchman' is that I don’t ever want my ideas, thoughts, or rants taken out of context or ever used against me. In many ways, I feel like I have to restrict myself so much, that it almost sucks out any inspirational or creative ideas that I have. My feelings of restriction don’t come from this class, but rather from the notion that these will be public and recorded ideas that could be viewed/shared and/or taken out of context in any way.
I recently had a colleague send a string of email excerpts about a problem she was having with the administrators’ requests about our department at school, and she included notes from all the other English Experts to use as support for her argument to them. She didn’t present my ideas in any ill form, but the notion that someone was taking excerpts of my emails, and using them in conjunction with other people’s emails, which were not even related to my messages, was completely astonishing. I don’t think she had any malicious intent, but the whole idea that someone can just string pieces of conversations like that together really freaks me out.
It’s almost like we’re constantly being interviewed, and we know whatever we say could possible be shared publically or easily taken out of context. This notion of the ‘watchtower’ has really made me cautious about many things…