We can still recall the events following September 11, 2001.
In particular, we remember the administration answering the threat of terrorism with a wealth of ideas – all neatly bundled into “The Patriot Act.”
We also remember the public’s reaction. While there certainly were those who agreed that anything was okay as long as it dealt with the problem of terrorism, there were many others who rose to complain about the loss of personal freedoms. Concepts of diminished freedom of speech, lack of privacy and allegations of a “Big Brother” mentality were common in those days. It was obvious Americans cherished their freedoms, their individuality and their right to privacy.
Now consider the situation as 2012 comes to an end.
We eagerly rush to sign up for a Facebook account. In doing so, we freely tell Facebook all about ourselves. We let them (whoever “them” is) know our age, our birthday, our general location and more. We create lists of friends and those lists are open to the public. Facebook then busily gathers grain after grain of information on us: where we shop, search terms we often use, games we like to play, ads on which we ‘click’ and so much more and we lap up this loss of privacy as if it were honey.
We just can’t get enough.
We then rush to be an even more important part of this wave of social media and sign up for Twitter. Suddenly, we all believe everyone is interested in the state of our suntan, the amount of carbs we had for lunch, the date of our last haircut – or any other shred of information we choose to “tweet.”
And we tweet everything.
Stars put it all out there. We hear of their fights, their love affairs, their likes and dislikes and hatreds. They tweet of how they are underpaid and overworked and they tweet how we, their fans, truly annoy them. We just love it.
We tell people what’s for dinner and if we’ll be going out for a show following the meal. (Would-be thieves just love how freely we announce an empty house.)
We tweet our inner thoughts – thoughts with which many others might disagree. Gone are the days when people at work just couldn’t be sure if your political leanings agreed with theirs or those of the boss. Now, our tweets are there for everyone to read – including the boss. On the other hand, the boss may be a member of Foursquare in which case we can see she just “checked in” from a less-than-reputable part of town. Everyone’s life is an open book just waiting for comment.
We comment on others’ pages, on online stories and allow words to flow straight from brain to fingertip in a virtual uncensored stream of consciousness.
Should we wonder if the words might, one day, come back to haunt us?
Should we care?
Or is being “social” all that really matters?
We say all of this to simply ask: do we tell too much? Do we no longer know when it is best to simply keep our big mouths shut? Aren’t some things better kept secret?
We think so…
…but we need to hurry and wrap this up. We want to tweet about this column.