Business Administration Education Guide

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Surveillance Society

The younger generation is revealing their entire lives on places such as MySpace, Live Journal, Facebook and has advanced the theatre of community. Their sense of privacy is not the same as that of older generations.

As most girls did, I used to write to myself in a diary, which I kept locked with the accompanied key. I wrote down all of my most private thoughts. All of which, I would have been mortified if anyone would have read. Conversely, kids of today has their diary online with computers they were given in elementary school. They instant message their friends and create online profiles at a variety of sites.

Eight year olds can “network” with people all over the world through consumer product sites as Barbie Girls.

Teenagers are revealing their inner most thoughts, anxieties and party life complete with infamous pictures at sites such as MySpace.

Adults from young to senior have stepped into a world of self-documentation focusing on the intimacy, the dullness or the adventures of daily life – just anther individual in a quite or uploaded noisy music track of a busy virtual world.

The caution of us over 30’s who are careful not too reveal too much personal information over the internet isn’t understood by the younger generation of online citizens such as Kitty Ostapowicz whose said in the article “Say Everything”: “Why not? What’s the worst that’s going to happen?"

The worst that can happen is that cyber stalking becomes real life stalking. What could also happen is that your public online life can and has affected people's careers and college education. Human resource managers and university faculty staff members are going online to find the non-application information that will reveal the "truth" or at least the image of the prospective employee or college student. If they don’t like what they see, they will not hire you or accept you into the college of your choice.

There’s a lot of transparency between being known on social networking communities and Hollywood celebrities -- it's about being a public figure and seeking an audience. The problem arises when something we don’t want others to know is published.

Hundreds or even thousands online may see a picture or a video of you, that you thought would only be seen by one or two other people. In 2000 a women named "Susie" was the victim of an uploaded video she took for her than boyfriend. It's believed her than boyfriend's roommate uploaded the tape to the internet where "Susie" was suddenly infamous. Sadly, this has become a trend among the broken hearted. We may say today's boyfriend / girlfriend would never so such a thing to us, but the truth is once feelings are hurt and pride is wounded, people are capable of anything.

There are advantages to manuscripting a life though. Patient blogs are a way for patients to communicate their feelings in a positive way and letting others know that they 're not alone. Their blogs give hope where before there may have been none. When a terminally ill individual or family member passes away, or a friend leaves unexpectedly, the blog or profile remains as a memorial for that person. Allowing family and friends to celebrate and remember the person.

As I grow older I have gone back to the beginning of my earliest public exhibitionist days and sometimes I’m amused at my former self’s writings and other times I reinforce my belief of how much of a nerd I really am. Which gets me thinking about the generation before me. How I would have loved to read about the life and personal adventures of “normal” everyday people in the earlier years.

From reading the adventures of the “new breed" of young women flappers and her bad boy (of that era) boyfriends to the thoughts of someone in 1929 when the stock market crashed and into the fashionable global phenomenon of Talkies in the 1930s…. That was a time to be recorded.

Yes, I know books still exist and I can walk from my desk stiff legs from my car to the door of any Barnes & Nobles. But those books are written mostly about famous or infamous people. While those stories and recollections are indeed fascinating, nothing beats the Girl / Boy Next Door retelling of what s/he thinks is dull.

So when I think about the future of who may be reading my public life, I wonder if they will find it dull or fascinating? Will Google still be popular by then? What will the internet have morphed into?

On a planet that is wired and networked and continues to grow USB cable tentacles stretching into rural villages, privacy is an illusion when you choose to publicize your life. People of all ages need to constantly ask themselves if what they publish is something that they can live with everyone on the planet knowing.

Are you considering how your private information can be used? Are prospective roommates, friends, husbands or wives or employers Googling you right now to piece together the reality of your life as opposed to the tales you’ve spun? Google probably knows more about us than any one person on this planet.

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