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« BFTP: Typos | Main | Ethics scenarios - made better! »

Age, Energy, Privacy and Morals

This evening is the Unconference here at AASL. It starts at 9PM and lasts until midnight.

I started a 5AM. My guess is I will not last until midnight.

Not that many years ago, a midnight end to a conference would an early night. 

In experience, most morally questionable activities tend to be committed late at night. So as my bedtime gets earlier, my opportunities, temptations, and need for privacy/secrecy diminish. This may be why I am less concerned about privacy issues than some of younger colleagues. No one has yet to respond to my question

Why do we as humans value privacy so highly?" One doesn't need to be a criminal or a pervert to still not want all of one's life in the public eye. The need for privacy is at a gut level, an inalienable right, and must have some primitive survival component behind it. But what are the tangible benefits of choosing what to share - and what to keep to oneself?

While I don't keep the "location" services turned on for most of my phone apps, I have yet to discover a concrete reason I should not.

The age/energy continuum may also explain why it seems people become more judgmental the older they become. My guess is that they condemn the things they not longer have the energy to participate in themselves. Personally, I don't think I behave better because I've gone older, wiser, and more ethical - I just don't have the energy to be bad. Being bad is usually a lot of work and just takes more energy than I care to expend anymore. I save my energy for more important things like breathing and remaining upright.

They're my theories and I'm sticking with them. 

Oh, any Facebook or Twitter from tonight's event that include me were Photoshopped.

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Reader Comments (4)

Funny stuff, Doug. My bedtime continues to get earlier, too.

I think we value privacy so much because we like to think that we know what's best for us (even when we maybe really don't). Therefore, because "we know what's best for us," we'd rather not suffer any consequences that might result from external judgements that might result from our lack of privacy.

In the end, I think we all live in glass houses - or at least those of us that work in the public sector. Isn't it called public for a reason?

November 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDarren Draper

Thanks for the Friday morning humor! My father used to say "nothing good happens after midnight!" when he strictly enforced our curfew. I think most of the privacy issue for me is a safety issue. I don't want people to know I'm not home.

I think, although we may not be as vocal about privacy, there are a lot of things about my life that I really DO want to keep private. It just isn't the web sites I visit. So maybe that's why I tend to sit back and watch in my old age....

I don't think I'm too judgmental about things in which I no longer have the energy to participate. I truly enjoy watching my kids exerting all that energy to do those things that I used to do--and often being much more responsible than I was!

Thoughtful post. Thanks.

November 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette

A few years ago, Bud Hunt had an interesting post on privacy. I made this slide to illustrate the point.
I'm working with a group of staff right now that are grappling with the idea of having an online presence and sharing. It's been good to hear their perspectives, and to push their thinking. Thanks as always, Doug, for pushing mine!

November 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Walker

Hi Darren,

I do believe "public" employees are held to a higher standard of behavior - especially those of us in education who serve not just as teachers, but role models for kids.

And, yes, a mistake made in private is less painful than one made in public!

Thanks for the comment,


Hi Annette,

I know what you mean about not wanting people knowing I'm not home. Whenever I see a tweet or blog post that says "It's great seeing Doug Johnson here at xyz..." I always reply "I sure hope my Doberman that I left at home found a way to get to his dog food."


Thanks, Michael,

Great post and slide. I would like to be the same person online that I an off line, but my mother, wife and daughter all read my online stuff!


November 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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