The Implicit Contract of The Internet

Earlier I posted this…

…and I’ve realized that this is actually something that’s been bothering me for some time.

I’ve been living in public online – posting details about my life that might have historically been seen as private, right out in the open – for decades now.

Especially during the heyday of web 2.0. Want to see where I’m eating ice cream right now, sure why not. Care to know every single song I’ve been listening all day, every day? There’s an app for that.

During this era, I even thought it would be cool to correlate all of these activities into a history I could look back on. Being reminded in 2032 that I listened to Architecture in Helsinki while riding the tram in actual Helsinki 10 years earlier would be neat. Or correlating all my tram rides around the world with music, or mood, photos, weather, words, etc. (I’m hopeful that Apple’s upcoming journaling app will fill this niche but that’s a post for another day)

That was a tangent, here’s what’s been bothering me all these years.

Even though a tweet, photo, a bike ride, workout, check-in, etc is posted publicly, it does not mean that it was intended for a broader audience.

These blog post are, I love it when people engage with me about the words I’ve spent time crafting for this site. IMHO this is one of the things that makes blogs unique (another tangent for another day).

Social media is different, context is important. If you’re only flying by @ohryan on twitter every once in a while, you’re missing a lot about me personally and about the medium that is Twitter (or X app 69 or whatever its called today).

If you’re keeping tabs on my peleton app to see how often I’m working out, please don’t. That’s gross.

You might be saying “but Ryan, if you don’t want people to see your posts, make them private.” While technically true, private accounts are not very social. I’m been introduced to lifelong friends (locally, virtually and internationally) by mutually engaging with relevant content. That’s just not possible with a private account and really defeats the purpose of social media.

The implicit contract of the internet is: mutual follow.

That’s it.

If you want to read my tweets, create an account and follow me.

If you want to compare workout habits, grab an Apple Watch and friend me on the fitness app.

Don’t be rude.