When I first discovered blogging, I liked the idea of sharing my personal experiences. Since then, I have been documenting some or the other aspects of my life. Initially, I maintained a blog, where I documented some personal events, the reviews of books I read, and my experiments with different technologies, software applications, and tools. I liked the experience of sharing it with the wider world. The joy of finding my posts being read by people around the world was immense.

Then came the era of social networking. The almost universal use of social networks changed my blogging habits. I started sharing on social media, wrote my opinions on different events, shared photographs, and wrote some viewpoints on the articles that I read and felt worth sharing. During all these years, I have made my viewpoints on a plethora of topics. My social media posts may narrate the evolution of some of them. Anybody going through my social media posts could understand my reading habits, the blogs, and the newspapers that I frequently read as well as the topics, both technical and social that I talk about.

Somehow, I was inspired by the openness and transparency of the internet. However, over the years, some social media companies became walled gardens, taking away with them the very foundation of the open web.

After a lot of reflections that took me years to concretize, I started maintaining a personal blog, where I could freely share my thoughts, and lifelogging some personal events. Then I came across the concept of the quantified self, where people maintain a log of their activities, including their health information.

My online activities spread across different websites, including social networking sites as well as collaborative sites. I have used both of these sites, trying to separate personal and community activities. However, I found it quite difficult. I found often sharing some of my community activities on personal social media accounts, though not inverse. I do not know the exact time I realized this is a good approach, because the individual cannot be separated from the collective. Individuals with their own identities form a collective, each with their own stories, backgrounds, and cultures. I felt that this transparency is important for the well-being of collectives.

All of these mean that my social media posts and community activities may help me with self-reflection, self-analysis, and self-improvement. There are many moments in my life where I had been melancholic and gone through existential crises. During those times, writing and sometimes photography helped me a lot. I have written and narrated some of those sad moments in my blog. Today, whenever, I go through them, I feel glad that I wrote them. Writing has always helped me.

Initially, I started sharing the names of the books I read. Such readings were not endorsements of the authors or their opinions. I was rather interested to know their viewpoints on different topics. My reading habits have now changed. I read frequently online and I watch a lot of series and documentaries. This means that I need to share them as well to understand how I evolved over the years. Now, I also share the films, documentaries, and series that I watched, the music I listen to or have listened to, the museums that I visited, and the places as well as the countries that I traveled.

I am managing my blog using version control systems, frequently timestamping my thought process using the commit (also called versions). Whenever I check all this historical timeline, I am awed by my life’s journey. I have been through very difficult moments in life and overcoming them was not easy for me.

If I am here, it is because of thousands of people who open up their personal life experiences on the internet, sharing them with unknown persons, but unknowingly empowering a lot of people. This empowerment has been made possible, thanks to the open nature of the web. The stories on the web have helped a lot of people in understanding that they are not the only ones going through some issues. The web has also made it possible to share the lessons that we learned during these years from various personal experiences.

Some of my reading lists are available online through open bookmarks. Yet, I feel that I could share a lot to improve the software. What if I share the way I use software menus or the frequently used options. Will it help the software developers to develop specialized tools for me? By sharing my reading habits online, will the communities be able to develop better recommendation and personalization tools that do not create filter bubbles but open up a much wider world? Will sharing my health information (publicly or anonymously) will help provide better health solutions for future generations?

Several questions are still open regarding the boundaries of personal informatics. Documenting myself will help me to understand myself better and help others potentially, but it will also mean that I am leaving myself to multiple possible and unexpected interpretations from around the world.