I just realized that this post was missing from this blog. As it is pretty much the cornerstone of my views on participating in many discussions on social media, I feel that it is important to include this explanation for the sake of the reader.
As I have been retired since March 1, 2016, I realize that much of my professional concerns may be put to rest. However, given that I have not yet found my next career, I shall always be careful what is posted, my stance on selective participation and deliberate posting will remain…
August 28, 2015
1. To draw up or frame (a proclamation, for example).
2. To make ready for publication; edit or revise.
3. To delete or remove (private or sensitive information) from a document in preparation for publication.
I have a lot of thoughts and opinions on just about anything and everything… however, it has become a trend over the last year or so for me to post something to the effect of “[redacted]” – even my cover photo for Facebook is this word on a black background.
So, one might wonder why I redact myself so much… why not just say what is on my mind or leave it alone? After all, wouldn’t it be easier either way?
I choose to redact myself for several reasons. First and foremost is the fact that I am still a federal employee. Given the fact that social media seems to be full of examples of people who forget this fact, I choose not to be part of this particular crowd. Nothing shared via the internet truly ever goes away, and once sent, it is impossible to retract something insanely stupid one posts in the heat of the moment.
Along with that, I still wear the Uniform. I have friends, subordinates, peers, and superiors reading every word I post – with the exception of one or two. A long time ago, while I was studying for some board, my platoon leader asked me if I had the “NCO Creed” memorized. My response began with something like “I don’t need to memorize something that I actually liveby”, but then digressed into a rant about hypocrisy and such. Before I stray down that tangent, though, I redact because I actually do want to bring credit to my brothers and sisters in arms – regardless of the rank – with my words and views.
Redaction is also necessary for maintaining a certain level of professionalism for future employers and employees. With the approaching transition, I have begun to realize the importance of a solid network not just on Facebook, but on LinkedIn. While a resume might be an indication of qualification and potential, the words here are indicative of a more undiluted perspective about the person I am. My choice of words here paint a better picture of who I am, and I welcome the prospective employer to investigate to their hearts content to find out if I am truly as odd or outspoken here as I am in person.
Another reason is something that I pointed out during my Uncle’s memorial: the people in the audience. We both entertain a large and diverse audience of people we choose to call friends. Gay, straight… atheist, devout… liberal, conservative… black, white… rich, poor… American, other than American… gun totin’ or gun fearing… the spectrum is pretty broad. Since it is infinitely easy to offend anyone – and that is never really my goal, no matter how much I am provoked – it is much more of a challenge to take a step back and either craft my statement in a way that is honest without malice or just simply state “[redacted]” so that it is known that a point of view or statement exists, but is “removed for publication”.
Lastly, I often choose to redact simply because it is more enjoyable to let the audience fill in the blanks in their inner monologues as they read what I feel is worthy of sharing. There are people out there who will lay bare all of their trials and tribulations… who will disgorge drama freely… who will, as I told my sister once “let their stupid flag unfurl in the wind”, and I applaud their efforts and their comfort in casting off the chrysalis of common sense to be the vibrant butterfly of uncensored reality… This, however, is not me.
You choose to read for a reason.
Perhaps you will continue to [redacted]