On our way to 1984?

I’ve long been a fan of George Orwell. He paints such a fantastic picture of the consequences of being passive over time. How the small things can make such a large impact. I find it interesting that a book which was published almost 60 years ago can be so relevant today. I am not going to discuss how this is relevant to The Patriot Act or today’s government in general. I’d like to instead wrap my thoughts around the huge trend of voluntarily sharing information.

As MySpace, Facebook, Flickr and other services mature, we begin to see that sharing personal information with strangers has not only become mainstream but quite addicting. We have accepted these services as the norm and continue to be progressive in the amount of information we are willing to share.

Twitter for example, is a service that allows a person to broadcast ‘What I am doing’ in realtime. Anyone on Twitter is allowed to follow anyone else on Twitter without any of the friend confirmations we are used to. If someone wants to see my Twitter updates, they simply list me as a friend and that’s it. Every update I make will be forwarded to their email or cell phone via text message. If I send out a message of my location, friends and foes alike have immediate knowledge of my location.

I can’t be very critical of these trends because I am frequently an early adopter of most. I like to see how things work and how I can use them to make my life easier and more fun. The problem is that as others do the same, pieces of our private lives slowly break away. We keep complaining about the government’s policies on monitoring, but anyone with an email address can find intimate details about our lives.

Where do we draw the line and when does the fun wear off?


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