This is a guest post by Meghan Asha. Meghan was raised in the ‘Bubble’ with “Geek” as one of her chromosomes. You can catch her weekly on Fox Business News talking technology stocks and gadgets or subscribe to her tumblelog.
Could you imagine if everyone decided to broadcast their immediate thoughts and feelings to the world? This option is now available to the masses and some people have promptly decided to jump on the bandwagon. It’s a phenomenon of voyeurism and exhibitionism at its most grossly exaggerated stage – but the truth is, we’re ALL a part of it. Mass communication like Twitter, social networks like Facebook, and personal blogs are becoming increasingly commonplace. Since the early days of the Internet, people like Josh Harris (‘We Live in Public’) created an environment with cameras that broadcast his every move (including a toilet camera – yikes!) exposing every aspect of their lives on the Internet. What does this do to the subject psychologically? What does the observer gain from watching others? Why is it so compelling?
Mimicry and Progression
Actually – it’s not surprising reason reality television is insanely popular, people are biologically programmed to watch others as a way to gain information on survival. When we’re young, we watch our parents and mimic their experiences as examples. I’m not saying that we’re mimicking the choices of Flavor Flav (from VH1’s Flavor of Love) or subjects from Justin TV, but we are gaining some insight into human behavior. We’re able to communicate at a speed and distance that was inconceivable to our parents – of course, with this comes a massive decrease in intimacy. The breadth in our relationships comes at a cost – we now lack depth. Our solace is in posting a status update on Twitter or writing about our personal opinions in a public forum. It’s a way to communicate and be seen, thus fueling the sense that we are special and alive.
Accessing the Knowledge of Relations
The truth is, I’m fascinated by this social experiment. I have written posts trying its significance: how will this new access to knowledge about our fellow human beings affect the way we relate to one another? I struggle with the question personally, as my blog mixes with technology and pieces of my personal life. Earlier this year, a reporter asked Julia Allison, Mary Rambin and me which one of us is the most risk averse to exposing their lives via the net? Julia and Mary turned and pointed to me. Of course! Sometimes I just want to be coddled in a Volvo of privacy when riding the Internet’s Overexposure Superhighway, damnit! So this is where I am at right now – absolutely undecided. I can’t say I know how this experiment will end, but that’s the best part. With lifecasting in real time, you never know what will happen. ;)