There was a terrific exchange last year between an entertainment journalist and actor Daniel Craig during an interview to promote Craig’s new film, Cowboys & Aliens. A reporter from Entertainment Weekly asked him why he and actress Rachel Weisz decided to have a private, covert wedding. Craig’s reply was immediate: “This question answers itself. You said we had a private wedding and now you want to ask about the wedding. You are barking up the wrong tree…. It was private.”
We live in an age of celebrities talking about everything while simultaneously complaining about how intrusive the media can be, so naturally the reporter followed up with a question about the wedding ring Craig was wearing.
“Really,” Craig replied. “You just see a line in the sand and want to f—ing step over it.”
A declaration of privacy like Craig’s highlights everything that has changed about privacy in the past decade. Personal information has been turned into a source of attention, recognition and currency. Now we make daily decisions about what to share and what to hold back. Social media and reality television have made sharing an attractive proposition. The question remains, however, whether sharing is an attractive trait.
Daniel Craig has always been a private man. Even 10 years ago when he was simply a “working actor” who was known in the UK but not yet a global superstar, he rarely gave interviews and wanted his work to stand for itself. He remains consistent today, sharing very little about himself with millions of people accustomed to getting all the information they want from everyone they want.
That brings up a worthwhile question to ask yourself: Does holding back information as Craig does make you more interesting or more easily dismissed as someone who won’t “play the game,” so to speak?
As we make our daily choices about what to share, as we try to manage our personal brands and present a public face to the world, are we taking that question seriously enough? Do we have a real understanding about how we’re perceived by those who find our profiles online or hear us chat about our personal details at work?
Daniel Craig is perceived as a person who takes two things seriously: his work and family life. He feels strongly enough about both to honor them with protection, with that “line in the sand” that he doesn’t allow strangers to step over.
Contrast that with someone who is active on public Facebook and Twitter profiles, sharing lunch plans, relationship status and vacation photos with co-workers and strangers—and who also wants to be taken seriously in a position of leadership at the office.
Put another way, the level at which you privatize may reveal something about how you prioritize.