We now live in a culture where we are encouraged to overshare our day to day lives but undershare our emotions. We are expected to show the world our positive, monetary, materialistic sides with glee and florid abandon.
I am terribly old school. All this lack of privacy online and via smartphones irritates me. I don’t want my browsing behaviour sent to a third party. I don’t want everything I write to be put on Cloud or Dropbox or wherever. I especially don’t want all my emails, my contacts, my shopping list for Tesco or anything else transferred automatically from one device to another unless I ask for that to happen. I have had old and defunct contact numbers turn up on new devices before now which begs the question of where did that number list actually came from and where has it been stored?
I turned my location off on my phone and tablet too after rather freaking a friend out when a map of his approximate location at that moment popped up during a conversation in messages on Facebook. I told him exactly where he was or, at least, where he had just been. I don’t know whether you can still see people like that as I don’t have Facebook anymore but I could back then and, from what I hear, Facebook is even worse with its privacy settings these days unless you know where to turn it all off and remember to check every few weeks in case they update it all and reset your previous efforts.
Some people really don’t seem to care if their personal information is going off somewhere to be sifted through by a computer program or, worse still, sold on to someone else to use for marketing etc. How about the case of a mobile phone provider who offered to copy a friend’s contact numbers to their new phone whilst face to face in one of their shops and then proceeded to text or phone each of those numbers about an hour later trying to sell them products. You see that sort of thing annoys me, especially if I am one of the contacts which gets my number placed on yet another system so I get yet more cold calls I don’t want. Mysteriously just after the numbers had been copied over I received more cold calls in a week than I had done in a month. Coincidence? Yes, apparently, it was or so they said.
It seems to me many people have been brainwashed in to thinking all this information oversharing is a good thing, a useful thing and the best thing for us. Is it? Have you heard of the TV which is voice controlled and so sends the whole of any conversation had near it to a third party as it tentatively listens out for the words to turn it on? Yes, Samsung, you. I don’t know about you but I prefer to have conversations with my family which can’t be used to try and sell me something in the future when we have all accepted that ‘little bit more’ helpful technology in our lives and, more importantly, I like my conversations to be private.
And, of course, if we haven’t anything to hide then what does it matter, they say? The younger generation is so used to it they happily share absolutely everything without safeguarding themselves at all. Even what they had for dinner and where they are going to be in an hour. They also broadcast when they will be away on holiday and therefore tell anyone online that their houses will be empty. I suppose that is because they are confident they can blame it on someone else and get compensated for anything which ‘isn’t their fault’ which happens as a consequence. Maybe I am just a little cynical and more than a little harsh…or am I?
Is it all because we live in a world and in a time which seems to encourage no responsibility for self and no real need to think for ourselves most of the time? Some choose not to be curious and they just accept what they are told in a five minute news clip. We are all told what to think, what to feel, what to eat and what to do. I stopped watching the news on television and reading it in newspapers years ago. I still keep myself informed but prefer to come to my own conclusions on important matters. I’m as ‘off grid’ as I can possibly be to this sort of shepherding and read every piece of news with some caution until I have found out more about it.
So what is next? Neural interface, everyone? It’s coming. Just think of the shopping experience we could all have if we just think of something and an advert appears for it on the large wall screen beside us. That’s if enough of us are still capable of stringing two thoughts together without being guided and still capable of making our own decisions. We can download our following days tasks and a few false memories about a lovely holiday we didn’t have so we don’t actually have to go on holiday. Perhaps we can be reminded how perfectly lovely our leaders are to us all too as they show us how good life is with them in charge. All that can be ours as we sleep peacefully through our designated seven and a half hours. We will be a happier, more productive species. No?
I suppose it all depends on how much and how slowly we are spoon fed all this stuff which is supposed to be good for us, our families and humanity in general and how many of us go on to actually swallow it and not spit it out…