Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Pollution of Privacy

I realize that 90% of our population is now involved, so please don't take this as a personal attack. I read something last week that hit a nerve. Although related in a minor way it got me thinking about our society and what we have become.

  • I'm driving down the street and while passing the Moore's Family BBQ & Seafood Restaurant I notice their billboard says "Visit us on Facebook".
  • I'm settling in to watch an episode of Sons of Anarchy when a Macy's ad appears and at the end of it they tell me to visit them on Facebook and Twitter.
  • My father-in-law's wife runs into me at Wal-Mart and informs me of the family Halloween party coming up; she then tells me I would have known sooner if only I had a Facebook account, then she could have sent me an invite.
I've made it abundantly clear what these three topics have in common. It seems like within the past year, maybe two (I could be mistaken) we have been bombarded publicly with "status updates", "tweets", and the little thumbs up icons asking us if we "like this".

I'm gonna go ahead & dislike this.
It amazes me how quickly we've adapted to social networking; not only are adults spending their lives on the site, now companies are creating profiles and using it as a marketing tool. Look how quickly we began depending on something that was created by a 20 year old college freshman. Are we that senseless and insecure?

Facebook may be free, but I promise you everything comes with a price. Which is where I begin the second topic of this post.

Last week while I was reading the news I came across a story about a young, college going man on the east coast. This man was openly homosexual and had asked his roommate to give him some privacy while he spent time with his partner. He was unaware that his roommate had set up a web cam and was going to broadcast whatever relation the two males were going to engage in. He (being our roommate) then turned to our lovely convenient social networks and broad casted what he was doing and told everyone where they could watch. This happened not once, but twice. Due to technology and our society's sick idea of "acceptance" this young man jumped off the George Washington Bridge on September 23rd and ended his life. I am not positive, but 85% sure that throughout his short life he had to of encountered several acts of ridicule and torment, this act did not stand alone in forcing his suicide but it's probably what pushed him over the edge.

It angers me that this technology has created a disadvantage for many of us. As a society we have lost all sense of privacy and most importantly our younger generations have not learned how to warrant the privacy of others because they have been taught that it is normal to know what your colleagues are doing every minute of the day. That is not normal. In Entertainment Weekly it was written, "How on earth did we stalk our exes, remember our co-workers' birthdays, bug our friends, and play a rousing game of Scrabulous before Facebook?" Has it really come to this? We have caved to the desire to intrude and even worse we allow intrusion. I graduated high school in 2004, Facebook was created that very year; somehow I was able to maintain a healthy adolescence without the convenience of the Internet. We communicated. I didn't even have a cell phone until I was 17 (only because my mother insisted since I started driving), now my 12 year old nephew has one nestled in his pocket. I fear for the future because of what we have already lost.

Save some face, you've only got one. And ask yourself this, how important is your privacy to you? Better yet, how important is it when it comes to the ones you care about the most. For the family of the unfortunate young man who took his life, I'm sure they are feeling how very important their son's privacy should have been right now.


krystn said...

Very well said Hollie!