While the social economic pulse ruminates the obsession we seem to have with MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, as a populous we need to consider what personal privacy we are giving up and at what cost. On the surface it seems pretty cool and posh to tell all your Facebook followers your every move and emotion, but has tweet mania gone too far?
When the founding fathers wrote the words ‘Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness’ I wonder if they could have imagined the technological world where the court room is the forum for challenge upon the constitutionality or admissibility of personal items/dialogues vs. privacy while kids and parents alike randomly update their mood, their location, their vacation plans, and their desires from moment to moment. And if admissibility is upheld would it also be valid then to confirm intent, knowledge, and provide alibis?
The mere discussion of online social networking (Facebook) as a means to influence legal rulings and decisions purports the concept of a society lacking personal characteristics and personality. So the question becomes, “If you publicize any personal feelings, by way of a written public record like Facebook, do you then give up personal right to privacy”?
In a recent suicide case in the news a mother was investigated for creating a fictitious young male profile on line to befriend an estranged female friend of her daughters so she could find out what the girl was saying about her daughter. After courting the girl the young man dumped her, the act that led to her suicide. While the woman’s conviction was overturned by a higher court and found as not having committed any wrongdoing the efficacy of her actions are in question. Ironically, new laws have sense been established and in fact are now protecting the women from the public that, ruffled by her actions, seem to be cyber harassing her. If she had verbally attacked the child what would she have been charged with? Is there any difference?
How about the new website www.PleaseRobMe.com ? This playful site scans social networking sites like Facebook and live streams back those people that have indicated they are not home. Claiming to be an awareness site letting people know what their ignorance could lead to it has gained notoriety for the place for criminals to go to find empty homes ready for the robbing.
It does create the question as to whether what used to be known as peer pressure could in cyberspace now be a criminal activity. For me the question is much more simplistic. Why does any person want the world to know their mood or their every step? Maybe it makes the declaring person feel special when others are aware of their every move. It seem a little creepy to me. If you are willingly posting exactly what you are up to minute by minute I think you have just given up the right to cry help if you are stalked.
While these many questions keep presenting themselves it is possible that they will not be answered until they are challenged in court. In the meantime, it would behoove us to take some personal responsibility and set personal guidelines and limits for ourselves and our children. As my mother always told me, ‘Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want to be in the headlines of tomorrow’s newspaper’! While the message is still the same the statement could be corrected by replacing newspaper with ‘Facebook status’.
Hence, instead of creating negativity, why not use social networking sites as a platform where we can spread good vibes and positivity. You can getfans and build followers for a good cause that could make our world a better place to live in.
God help us with the intelligence to create technology that helps mankind and promotes creative thought to a level higher than “I need help with my animals in Farmville”.