One year ago, when I started this blog, it was because I just started??organizing??iWeekend, meet so many incredible and helpful person, learn and experience so much I thought??I should share it and inspire people.
But there were also another belief, that I didnt quite realize back then. Still a belief that – even though I dont think I am a good writer or whatever I will share will be AMAZING – I should start now, to get better and maybe a few people will find what I say interesting. I was very much inspired by Paul Graham and his essay that are all "strike of lucidity" materials for me. I wish to become as inspiring as him sometimes. So I start writing and tried targeting my writing on entrepreneurship in Beijing, tech and woman in tech.
Recently I realize there is a deeper reason why I do what I do, and particularly this blog. I believe in openness and transparency. I strongly believe than a more open and transparent world will avoid more hurt. People are so scared of privacy issues, and I can understand. But I am a person who think that Eric Smidt (ex-Google CEO) did something amazing when he said about Google digging up too much private information about people: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
He got so much in trouble for saying it, all association and group about privacy protection pointed out Google as the bad guy. I just think he is right. And Tony Hsieh (Zappos CEO) also probably belief something similar as he advices to use Twitter to become a better person by just taking the habit to tweet anything you do and anything that happen to you. When you know people are watching, you tend to behave much more. Right?
I am also a BIG FAN of Zuckenberg and his vision of a more transparent he helps building with Facebook.
Reasons to be against transparency.??
I know mainly 2 ways to be against transparency and they are represented by my 2 best friends 🙂
Best friend 1 is not on Facebook, she is anti-social network and think transparency is dangerous.
Best friend 2 is for the protection of privacy to keep the needed 'perception' that people have of you.??
1) Is transparency a danger?
Truth is most people are just scared of transparency because they have the illusion that they always had privacy and that it is protecting them. They believe that the more the outside world knows about you, the easier it is for them to use or hurt you (ex: rob your house when you are on holidays, use your info to sell you stuff..). There is a very good ignite video about this fear of social network leading to apocalypse (See video Flashmob gone very very wrong below).
In that case I think privacy is an illusion of protection. Living in society is giving up privacy to gain security. You just put your security in the hand of someone else than yourself (the State). Now some States can use your private info to persecute you, that is another story. The second step is not only the state but individual knows where you live, who you love, what you do all the time, where you check in…. you become an easy target for serial killer. True but if everyone have the same level of info displayed on social network, than dont we go back to scared one? We become all easy target so the risk to be attacked is??diluted. And I dont believe a serial killer target you because it is easy for him. Much more tricky reason. But on the other hand is bad people can easy target you, good people can also much easily help you in case of need. And this happen more often than bad things. This is the same principle than gossip in less urban society. People gossip on you, maybe knows everything about you (something you might have been shocked about if you moved in China).But the gossip, the watching-over-what-about-at-the-neighbor is what keep the society in order – peer pressure.
Also in my hometown there is this very popular radio, when something happen a car crash or robbery, people tend to broadcast it by calling the radio and make a live??announcement??rather than contacting the police. My brother told me this story where someone called because his moto just got stolen, he said approximately where and my brother saw the describe moto with the 2 thieves on it. He made a U turn to race the thieves and stopped them. But when he finally catched up with the moto, dozen of other cars already did the same thing and people were beating up the thieves already!
What it tells me: if the police is not around and the population has the information they need, they will make justice themselves, much faster.
Then, for less serious issues, there is the problem of being exposed to critics and intolerance. I think there are 2 kind of persons at each side of this problem:
– people who criticize without valid reasons. trolls. They just can not stand people being different or living differently then them because it would make them question themselves. And they are NOT ready to do that.
– people who get hurt to easily by critics from people they shouldn't (but really shouldn't) care about.
The best is to be in the middle: not criticize thing you dont understand and not be too much affected by critics from others. You can ask questions, you should! but dont judge people to fast. Always try to understand first. Also dont let critics stopped you of being who you are, of doing what you doing, of believing in what you believe. Critics can be constructive..but only if they come from someone who knows and respect you. Many people critics just to critics, because it makes them feel important, learn to make the distinction early between constructive criticisms and critics for fun.
Now the world is not perfect, far from it and such people exist. But I dont think we should not be more transparent because of these imperfection. Being more transparent will educate these people in being more tolerant and more thick-skinned. And I really believe in this from the movie MILK, where gay rights made a huge progress in US in the 70s because gays, as a community, decided to make their coming out and let world know they were their children, colleagues, cousin, professors and not some dangerous sick strangers. They took the risk to become easy target but slowly made the society progress. It was courageaous. We all need to be as courageous.
2) Is transparency needed to keep our status?
The other argument of Best friend 2 was -particularly for facebook- that privacy is needed in order to not let people see the part of you they are not suppose to see. ex: Your boss/ customers shouldnt see drunk picture of you. Your family should see picture of you mooning people…
Here again, why? Dont your boss know you are a normal person who sometimes need to blow steam? Dont your parents know you are having fun with your friend and maybe a different kind of fun that they used to do when they were young? If they dont then they need a wake up call.
I am really upset to live in a society where people expect you to be perfect, always on top, never have any flaw. Truth is even the greatest leader has flaw and I think it is a mistake to lie to the mass and pretend they didnt. I read a testimony of Mandela where I explain in was in a small plane and the pilot kind of lost control, people were a bit panicking but he stayed calm. They finally managed to land safely and when he touched ground the first thing he said to his assistant was how freaking scared he was. He just didn't show it on the moment, because people needed to stay calm and he leaded the way. There is a different between leading the way and pretending you are not human. That is why I am very glad Steve Job bio came out, because it reveal how such a great game changer was also a weak person. You can be weak, you can be drunk, you can do and say stupid thing. It??shouldn't??mean for people that you are not a responsible person. What you do when you are on duty and what you do when you are not are 2 different things, and everyone should learn to make the difference. Same with judging someone by their appearance. I dont like playing these games.
There is much more I can and will say on Openness and Transparency, it is today one of the main reason for this blog: promote and exchange on this topic. Comments more than welcomed 🙂