vulnerability

Online Self-Loathing & Surveillance

Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 1.41.41 PM Personal branding online sure gets a bad rap, like this New Yorker post by Tony Tulathimutte, which warns us "You Are What You Tweet".

He's talking about the self-loathing variety of personal branding online -- heavy on the self-censorship with no mention of integrating what matters to you with the vulnerability that actually connects us as people,  both concepts we emphasize at GlobalNiche.

Tulathimutte concludes, "The more immediate threat may be the surrender of private identity: to perfect the total image of an impressive life, we prune off the parts of ourselves that can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t be seen."

Meanwhile, The Guardian writes about the psychological effects of surveillance. Research shows being surveilled fosters distrust, conformity and mediocrity.

I can't help noticing that the most deleterious effects of being watched seem to track with the defensive, inauthentic personal branding approach Tulathimutte writes about. As if when we reveal ourselves voluntarily we're avoiding actually being seen.

"Science can lay claim to a wealth of empirical evidence on the psychological effects of surveillance...indiscriminate intelligence-gathering presents a grave risk to our mental health, productivity, social cohesion, and ultimately our future."

That's serious business not to be taken lightly.

But do we have to approach the online presence we build as if we are being watched against our will? As if all we aim to communicate is 'successful' conformity (which is of course mediocre and gives the rest of us nothing to connect to).

Can we make being seen (when we choose it, that is) a path to our own resilience?

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Sarah Kendzior makes a related point in Al Jazeera September 9, "The danger of data: Not the information, but the interpretation".

She writes: "Our online self-expression - selective and self-censored, complicated and contrived - is being mistaken for the summation of our being. The great existential fear is no longer not knowing who we are. It is not getting the chance to find out." 

Custom Creative: The Making Of An Authentic Indie Life

Happy blizzard -- or dense fog in the morning! We've got entrepreneurial social media life/work things to do in the low-visibility season ahead. BTW here's an overview never before available: If you're at all interested you can now peek behind-the-scenes of my top five cultural producing projects related to but not strictly expat+HAREM. Hint: Family culture clashes! Art historic soap operas of imperial proportion! [link removed, no longer available]

+++++ AT expat+HAREM

Our shiny new Facebook page replaces a group set to retire one random day. Don't want to lose you in the shuffle. Please post on our FB wall any kind of culturati link you're liking today.

Do we look older more experienced? We just celebrated our first full year of bloghood! 23 guest bloggers to thank, we're also grateful for 2300 comments which took us to surprising intersections of culture and identity. Here we all weigh in on the posts which affected us the most.

2011 starts with the editor of Matador Life Leigh Shulman contrasting the peregrinations of a fictional exile with her own rolling stone life. Why do we leave the places we know, and is the melancholy of disconnect any different if it's elective or imposed on us?

YOUR PRO GLOBAL NICHE IS A WEB PLATFORM...

Not just a dreamy concept of world citizenship, your global niche is about "blooming where you're planted" in a holistic way, being creative and entrepreneurial to find happiness, growth and success wherever you are and in all your aspects.

In conjunction with creative biz consultancy Turquoise Poppy, expat+HAREM is excited to lead a January 22 demonstration of how to build your global niche through social media.

Not geographically convenient, or complete newbie? Cultural creatives and mobile progressives everywhere can now start learning the web tools, techniques and technology: our new mailing list will get you started with free tutorials and keep you posted about next steps, like our upcoming mastermind program for creative entrepreneurs.

That's a high-impact online course where a supportive set of your international, creative peers will help you build your global niche on the web. +++++ AROUND THE WORLD & AROUND THE WEB

We loved Dr. Brene Brown's recent TEDxHouston talk on  wholeheartedness and its root in expressing our vulnerability.

But the blog of longtime expat Diana Baur and majorly creative entrepreneur (the American potter is an innkeeper in Italy) sharpens the point for identity adventurers and global nomads like us. "Wholehearted people don't have an externally-driven directive about living correctly."

To live authentically individual lives we need to embrace the parts of ourselves that don't fit anywhere.

Publication to watch --> BETA is an about-to-be-released quarterly print mag from the global online travel network Matador. All about motion, journey and place, apparently the cheeky thing subtitled the topography of living will be sold at "some of our favorite camel markets and opium dens worldwide."

+++++ YOUR THOUGHTS

In the new year we're looking at where others end and we begin. "What are you redefining?" we asked.

Beth Wettergreen, the new liaison between a private university in Istanbul and U of Maryland, is struggling with the concept of 'private life' in Turkey. "Here, one is almost never unobserved. I have a feeling that the notion of a truly private life is reserved for the upper middle class and upper class."

Meanwhile another expat is facing the boundaries of a life vision at odds with cultural expectations of a woman who 'works' from home yet is not a traditional housewife.

"I risk appearing rude and living up to the stereotypes of the self-centered American in order to further myself along the path that feels right to me - even if others can't see it or understand it."

What creative, custom life/work solution are you looking for?