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4 — Our lives in the public gaze

Activity 1: Life stories and the private/public divide

Students will read and share their impressions of ‘This (Salty) Life’ and extend their understanding of disclosure, revelation, privacy and ethics.

A surfer

Memories of a father’s love of the ocean. Above: Surfer, photo by Alex Kehr CC-BY-2.0

Discuss the following with the students:

Allow the students to browse through ABC Open Projects, searching for examples of life stories, and selecting one that suggests that the individual is disclosing or revealing something of a personal nature. Ask the students to record their responses on the ABC Open Life Stories discussion worksheet and to share their responses to the following questions:


Activity 2: Facebook debate  

Facebook is often in the media because of violations of privacy, even though it continues to be a vital part of modern life and many people use it without issue.

Ask the students to revisit the definition of a life story from Sequence 1: A life story captures the most distinctive qualities and experiences of an individual’s life. A life story is based on the assumption that within every life, there is a story worthy of sharing. Social media is based on the notion of sharing, and a strong link might be made between Facebook’s timeline and the concept of a life story.

Remind the students of the concept of debating. They will work in pairs or small groups and attempt to provide three strong arguments to support each of the statements below using the Facebook debate worksheet.

At the conclusion, it should be a simple exercise to use their responses on the sheet to calculate the class scores in support of and against the statements. ACELA1550ACELA1551ACELA1553ACELA1556ACELA1561ACELA1562ACELY1739ACELY1811ACELY1742ACELY1745

What one person divulges on Facebook, another might regard as private.

Photograph of a boy sitting in a field with text overlaid reading 'The first boy I ever loved was my best friend he knew everything about me and I'm afraid that's what pushed him away'

Above: Post Secret, Secret Knowledge, photo by Meg Wills CC-BY-2.0

Activity 3: Interviews, sensitivity and privacy

Remind students of the rights and wrongs when sharing a life story, discussed in Sequence 2.

Consider why we do not generally ask the following questions of people we don’t know well, or where there are distinctions of age, power, culture or gender:

Even if the upcoming interviews are not particularly sensitive, these are valuable insights regarding the use of language in any interaction with others.

Students should use the Interviews, sensitivity and privacy worksheet and then the class could synthesise the collective advice to guide them in their interviews. ACELA1551ACELA1770ACELA1561ACELY1811ACELY1741ACELY1742ACELY1747

Remind the students of the deadline for their life story proposals.