It’s official, we live in a world where thousands of tweets, status updates, images, videos, and comments are posted every minute. Given this fact, it might seem fairly obvious what it means to live in public. The internet has become so intertwined with daily life that it has become second nature for people to post an image of their favorite sushi roll or let the world know what’s on thier mind. It’s obvious that this “public” way of living is eliminating many aspects of privacy, but it also presents a great deal of positive advantages.
Think about it this way, as a race we have gone from strictly engaging in face to face connection to communicating and connecting with a network of millions. When internet service became common in American homes we were limited to slow dial-up connection (some of us are still haunted by it’s connection sound) and simple user profiles. Fast-forward ten years and millions of people have interactive and multimedia-rich facebook pages. Facebook alone has evolved from a modest database of college students to an empire that hosts millions of profiles around the world.
People have gone from keeping a private journal to vlogging, blogging, and tweeting every aspect of their lives. Although this can be detrimental in certain cases, (i.e. 10 People Who Lost Jobs Over Social Media Mistakes) it also connects people to each other on a broad and mass scale. This makes it easier to collaborate and unite for worthy purposes and ideas such as charities, crisis recovery, business startups, and political issues just to name a few.
Also, another factor of “living publically” deals with online advertising. In reading Chris Anderson’s essay “The Long Tail” this week I realized the power of targeted advertising. We’ve all noticed that after searching for certain products or including something in our “interests”, advertisements “magically” adjust to reflect what we posted or searched. This raises the question of whether or not companies should be allowed to gear their ad’s based on our profiles and searches. (Check out this relevant Time Magazine article)
It’s undeniable that many people today lead very public lives. In some ways everyone is a “public figure” but how is this new way of communicating and sharing information affecting us?
I’ll end this blog here with a couple of questions…
1. Since we make our interests public and search the web using google, do you think its fair for companies to sell and use our information?
2. Do you think employers should consider Facebook and Twitter accounts when hiring and firing?