Monday, July 02, 2007

Private eyes

On one hand, it's really exciting that we're able to write and publish our thoughts, photos or even videos of the most mundane aspects of our lives - in real time.

It gives a whole new meaning to the concept of 'news'.

And certainly that's a good thing in a crisis situation where we can witness an event unfolding from the perspective of an individual who's in the thick of it.

However, with all our open communications there's a tradeoff in personal privacy.

It wasn't so long ago when you had to hire a private eye to do your spying for you. I think of a trenchcoat wearing Humphrey Bogart, incessantly puffing on unfiltered cigarettes in a seedy office with his name etched on the door. Oh yes, and there was lots of flirting and witty banter, too.

But these days anyone with a cell phone and a wireless connection has the potential to be a snoop. In a Toronto Star article about Facebook's popularity in Toronto, a person who lied to his girlfriend about his whereabouts got 'busted' when she spotted a photo of him having a drink in a trendy bar.

Sure that's a funny situation, a romantic-comedy cliche. (And I don't think that people should lie. )

But there's another part of this scenario that bothers me. The fact that whether we like it or not, we become the fodder for someone else's life 'documentary'. Unwitting stars in their show.

We're no longer observers. We're losing the capacity to simply enjoy our own lives.

I, for one, am just not ready for my close-up.

Not without my permission, that is.

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