Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Secrets and lies

If a conference is well blogged, and video-ed, you can probably learn as much from it as when attending.. At Picnic I heard people talk about the fact that men lie about 70% of the time on internet and women about 30% of the time... it made me curious how this was measured. And it may be reflective of face-to-face communication?

Anyhow, I just found a post by Ethan Zuckerman blogging Genevieve Bell's presentation on secrets and lies.
"Men and women lie differently. Men lie more, and we’re not as good at it. Men lie about their jobs and cars. Women lie about their weight, age and what they’ve purchased.
Why does this happen? We probably need to understand that lies aren’t always opposed to truth. They are often a form of self deception, a way of coping with the world. “Lies are not always opposed to truth - they are opposed to reality.” Children lie to test boundaries, to discover what is and isn’t an appropriate response in conversation. Is it okay to say that you’re seven when you’re actually three?"

She also point to the cultural determination of secrets and lies:
"Secrets are different than lies. Genevieve grew up in indigenous communities in Australia, and there secrets are a big part of life. Not everyone gets to know everything - there’s knowledge held only by women, only by men, only by the old or the initiated. She tells a story about indigenous women wondering at white women’s honesty with their husbands. “The white men asks, ‘What did you do today, dear?’ And the women answer! And the women I spent time with were howling with laughter over this.”

I recognise this as in Ghana there was definitely a different perception about what is allowed as secret or lies. Some lies are publicly known as lies to insiders, it is only the outsider that may be confused... Back to the internet: I have the feeling that the more you are online, the more you have to be honest, since everything gets connected. The more people you add on twitter, the more likely it is they know it when you are lying. But that sounds a bit contrary to her findings about lying?

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