When everything about your life is out in the open, there is power in keeping some of it secret. The ironic side-effect of social media is that it makes it easier to hide. When people think that you share everything, they don’t expect you to keep anything secret.
I recently went on a brief trip to South Africa to visit family, and I stayed (mostly) off social media. It felt weird—I felt this strange guilt, like I was “hiding” something because so many of my friends didn’t even know I was in the country. I know it was the right thing to do considering the circumstances of my visit, but still. Our minds can be deceptively cruel to us.
Anyway, I started thinking about it because Jim Farber explores this from a celebrity standpoint in his really interesting article The New Celebrity Power Move: Keeping Secrets:
Meanwhile, the stars get to both circumvent the media and to float an image of utter transparency through their promiscuous use of social media. In fact, that may only obscure them further. “Digital media creates this notion that we can know everything,” [Kathleen Feeley, co-editor of a scholarly study of celebrity gossip] said. “But it’s still a performance. It just creates a false intimacy.”
The audience’s belief in social media as the most direct route to a star exacerbates “the expectation that everyone will tell everything,” said Daniel Herwitz, a professor at the University of Michigan who wrote “The Star as Icon.” “Against all that, it becomes totally extraordinary when somebody doesn’t tell. On one hand, the public is in awe of the fact that the star, for the moment, resisted the system. But they’re also disappointed, as if somebody let them down. ‘Why didn’t I know this? The media dropped the ball!’”
“Why didn’t I know this”, also known as Why wasn’t I consulted?