We are Big Brother


I really enjoyed an article I read recently from a blogger/writer I follow, Mitch Joel, called “Each of us is becoming our very own Big Brother” (the title as published by the Vancouver Sun).  The idea is something I think we have all become aware of, without fully realizing the implications.  I believe the original fear was that technology would advance such that we would no longer have the freedom to have our actions and discussions be our own, and that our government and corporations would find a way to convince us that by watching us they would be better able to protect and serve us.  Of course this Orwellian story made us all nervous and watchful, but now that we are in the future, well past 1984, it turns out that all you had to do was give people the means to share their own activities with the world and they would be happy to do so.  So here we are in 2012 and most of what people are up to is being posted by themselves and often with the help of their friends.  I think many people buy into the idea that sharing their stories and logging their activites is really just an online journal, but I think it does turn out that we have started opening ourselves up to the world in a similar way we may have thought would happen only subversively by Big Brother.  I am quite fascinated by the ironic twist in this story.  I too wouldn’t have imagined that we as people might surpass the information gathering/sharing efforts of the government and corporations so much that social databases have become some of the greater sources of information on people than their own records.  I admit to contributing to the documentation of my own life online via social sites and this blog, but with the understanding that I should do my best to present my good side since many people might see it and judge me by it.  Ultimately a positive spin is the intention of the content everyone shares about themelves, and although somewhat biased we still tell a lot about ourselves with the post frequency, content, friends, and interactions with other posts.  Of course some less than desirable information may get out about us even without the help of government and corporations who end up abiding by our rules about what they can share about us.  We might be better censors of our posts if we think about how much we really want anyone to know about us.  There are many of us with less to hide than others, but ultimately we all have secrets.  So as much advice has already been given about this topic by others, I would just add my recommendation that we think about how we manage the dissemination of our personal information, keeping in mind that we have the right to remain silent and if we choose to give up that right, we are responsible for what we decide to say and reveal.  Good luck to everyone in this new world.  I personally enjoy this knowledge sharing to an extent but I also think some people should think about who they really are before they continue down the road of potential oversharing.

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