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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Another step towards openness

Being an Apple fan boy, I am very excited about picking up my iPhone in September. I've been finding myself in various situations thinking, "ah, if only I had an iPhone now I could... I know it's not for everyone, but for someone who rarely goes anywhere without a Macbook, well, an iPhone would mean freedom.

A lot of my work is macbook-based. Also, I use it to communicate with *Twinkle*, like a (large, somewhat inconvenient) mobile phone.

The combination of the iPhone and MobileMe (due to launch in 81 minutes) is very powerful. The idea that I can have access to ALL of my data (only excluding my 500 home videos) from anywhere really excites me. I get such a thrill when someone asks me a question and I'm able to find the information they need within seconds - that's one reason why I love being *Twinkle*s secretary.

Anyway, thinking about the iPhone got me thinking about what email address I'll use with it. I want something 'permanent', not some transitory address that I'd only be able to use with that one carrier in Japan (the same thinking is behind my decision to buy three phone numbers for life from Skype - one for UK callers, one for Japan-based callers and one for my US contacts). We've long been dependent upon these companies for our contact-identities, but technological developments and the relative generosity of companies like Google (in providing Google Apps) means that we can now use our own personally-selected identities with virtually any communications device.

So if I wasn't going to be josephtame@softbank.ne.jp, what was I going to be?

Hmm, maybe I could take the next step with my 'experiment'.

One part of my 'life experiment' was to start to be very open on my mumble about my thoughts and feelings. To not devalue or disregard my own ideas in the face of the opinions of others, to try and live in the flow.

The second stage of this process was to put a link to my blog in my email signature. However, I was still a bit uncomfortable with this and so I'd often delete the signature before sending, not wanting those people to know about it.

And I do continue to find myself reacting with discomfort when a colleague or friend tells me that they've read my blog ...and I really don't like to see TDM displayed on someone else's monitor. But paradoxically, I also embrace those situations. It's another opportunity to let go. I am Joseph. I do not have to be what others want me to be. If I act out of love for others and in harmony with my core values, it's ok. I do not need their subjective approval. Their opinions are just their opinions. There is no hierarchy, we are all together in this grand adventure called life. We can learn from one another. Someone criticising me is doing me a great favour - they are providing me with a far greater opportunity to grow than someone agreeing wholeheartedly with what I'm saying.

So back to this email thing then.

How about I adopt one of my web-domains as my email server? That would mean that I would effectively be advertising my online presence to anyone and everyone I sent an email to. How would that feel? It would be like inviting strangers into my heart to have a look around. That feels kind of uncomfortable. Surely there's a limit to how open one 'should' be.

I thought about this for a long time. It was a difficult decision to make. Changing my email address so that it pointed at thousands of pages of stuff about me would make for a big step out of my comfort zone, and one that runs counter to prevailing popular trends (in that most people are doing all they can to protect their privacy).

After a day or so I decided that yes, I will take this step. It is uncomfortable, but I feel it is the right thing to do. I'm not sure why, but I think I'll find out in due course.

This documenting my life online has come to be a big part of me, and I feel I have been given some incredible opportunities as a direct result of it. It's not always easy, and I have to try hard to ensure that it doesn't impact upon those that I love who are not so enamoured by the idea of being so open with the world.

The transfer of just over 22,000 emails from my old email account to my new one took three days (via POP3). It's all sorted, and my new iPhone email is all ready for it's new sexy host come September.

(Emails sent to my old email address will continue to be delivered.)

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