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If all the digital world's a stage, how does it feel to be a bit player in someone else's online narrative?

Social media is about stories, and what's more interesting - to you at least - than telling your own?

When you post, you're building a narrative: this is who I am and this is what I like.

You're creating your very own movie, pulling in a range of characters. Then you've got stage sets and let's not forget the bit parts; those people who dip in and out of your life and provide endless story fodder.

But what happens when you discover that it's you who has in fact been cast in the cameo role in someone else's social media story?

We hear from the unwitting extras: from the seat mates on a plane caught in a publicity storm after a woman posted about the apparent beginning of their great romance, to a man who helped his neighbour and ended the subject of her tweets.

So what does this mean for personal autonomy, having a voice, and the limits of the stories we can or should tell online? Does the digital world blur the boundaries between what stories are yours to tell?

Aleks Krotoski explores the tension between entitlement and a feeling of voicelessness.

Producer: Caitlin Smith

Available now

28 minutes

Clip

Jack

Jack
When Jack offered a helping hand to his new neighbours, he didn’t suspect that he and his wife would be turned into side characters in their neighbour’s social media narrative. He tells us what it was like to see snippets from their lives popping up online, and how he finally brought it to an end.

Dr Anna Derrig

Dr Anna Derrig
Dr Anna Derrig is a writer, and she teaches ethics of life writing and memoir at Goldsmiths Univeristy of London. She talks about Karl Ove Knausgaard and Moby's controversial memoirs and explores the ethics of what to tell, and how to tell it.

Euan Holden

Euan Holden is a former professional soccer player and model, who’d describe himself as a pretty average guy, but you might know him better as #Planebae. He tells us the story about how he and a female passenger on a flight were turned into the subjects of a modern, fairy tale romance on a stranger’s twitter feed. A feel good story with unintended consequences when the internet tried to track down the players, and intruded into their lives.

Professor Sonia Livingstone

Professor Sonia Livingstone
Sonia Livingstone is a professor in the Department of Media and Communications at London School of Economics and has dedicated much of her research to children, media and the Internet. She tells us how all relationships are relational, particularly those of family members, and that when we tell our own stories we have to find the boundaries between our expression and the rights of those we love.
To read more about sharenting on the Parenting For a Digital Future blog, see https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/parenting4digitalfuture/?s=sharent

Gregg Martin

Gregg Martin
Gregg Martin is an actor, writer, producer and director in LA who makes comedy videos. He tells us what it was like to live at 1600 Vine, which for a time was a hub for influencers, and about the tension between people who were happy to be living in a vibrant, bustling set for various Youtube stars, and the people who weren’t happy to be living on a constantly live set.

Christie Tate

Christie Tate
Christie Tate is a lawyer, writer, and mother based in Chicago. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Brain, Child, The Chicago Tribune, Entropy Magazine, McSweeney's and Mom.me. Christie blogs about her experiences of motherhood, but faced a furious backlash on social media when one of her articles was published under the title ‘My daughter asked me to stop writing about motherhood. Here's why I can’t do that’ - a headline she didn’t even choose herself. She tells us how she actually navigated boundaries with her daughter to make sure both of them were happy with the contents of her blog, and how the experience made her re-evaluate how to share stories from her life, while including the stories of those closest to her.

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