Internet Privacy: When Life Is an Open Book
The author Emily Nussbaum has written a thought provoking article on the end of privacy. She speculates that teenagers and young adults who post private moments and intimate thoughts about their lives on the Internet have accepted it that privacy is impossible to attain these days. In the article, she reports on various interviews with people who actively use the Internet as a means of self-expression and to document their lives, "especially, the ordinary endless stream of daily documentation that is built into the life of anyone growing up today" (p. 26).
A really don't see anything wrong with it. I had a surprising talk with my grandmother about the article. She told me she could relate. it's something like when she moved to a small village years ago with only 156 people living in it. She said when she moved there, she knew people would know everything about her, as it is impossible to keep a real secret in such a small community. She said she decided that she had done nothing to feel ashamed of if people found out about it. Even sex, she said, because everybody has a sexual nature. In other words, she accepted living her life as "an open book."
She saw the trend on Internet web sites such as Myspace as an extension of life in a small town. The difference today, however, is that a record is being kept for all time. The Einsteins and Ghandi's of tomorrow will be there, sharing their thoughts, feelings, revelations, and what it is like to them. it'll be great for scholars and people doing history. Of course, older people who were raised to keep certain things to themselves -- like how much money they earn, the details of their love lives, and their drug and alcohol habits -- will feel that sharing such information so openly is inappropriate. Privacy is a value, and it's hard to change values learned early in life. Plus, as Shirkey argued in the article, "You don't behave like that because nobody gave you the option" (p. 28). But to the younger people who are sharing themselves with each other, the greater value is in shared intimacy -- knowing others at a deeper level and being known.
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