Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I've seen it all before ...

How often do you surf the web?

For your consideration... 

In just a few minutes of web surfing you can view hundreds (maybe even thousands)
of images, ideas, foods, faces, places, projects, products,  images, artworks, craft works, 
words, advertisements, complaints ... (head spinning as we speak)...... and let's not discount the exorbitant amount of piffle. At any given moment millions of people are interacting on a global scale  - watching, taking, using, creating, downloading, buying, selling.... you get the idea.

Recently I participated in a debate with a group (all female) of acquaintances regarding the internet and a number of issues that it presents. 

It began with privacy (or rather lack thereof) when it comes to social media and posting photos of your family, your children, your friends, their children, your art, your home, your location!

I'm sure you've seen those posts (on Facebook) warning you that your privacy is being
violated by (Facebooks') new terms and agreements - urging you to check your settings and change them to "espionage stealth status" so that your identity may only be revealed to those who already know who you are, where you live... even when you're home alone (tragic but true).

In a very spirited tone (I use that description in its' most demonic and poltergeist sense) we argued as to whether you had the right to demand rights or was the web a privilege to be grateful for and not challenged. Clearly I was the only person present at this debate who had studied philosophy for I was the only one happy to enter the realms of determinism, trees that fall in forests and chickens arriving before eggs. Many of my attempts to keep things friendly were loosely veiled in profound metaphysical suppositions that were usually met with blank stares annoyance and (often audible) grunts of disbelief. What can I say - I'm a pacifist. 

We debated (rather loudly I might add) as to the merits of keeping one's children out of the prying eyes of perverts whilst behind closed doors but not really having any control over whether or not they were being violated (not my word) on other forums - for example images taken of them by their friends and shared liberally. Everyone became quite passionate at this point but they seemed  - on the surface - to reach a unanimous conclusion: Our children needed to be protected from the absolute certainty that was the dangerous general public. (Oh and quite a few ladies were ignoring their children's cries for attention whilst ardently arguing to their rights as harmless (pffff) little beings... just saying) 

I was amazed at how opinionated people became over matters that they had no personal experience in. Sometimes I wonder whether people actually care that about the things that go wrong as much as they care about having an opinion regarding the things that go wrong.

We debated on the matter of etiquette when it came to posting photos of people without prior consent. Should you always ask? Even at family gatherings?  (one person said that she refused to having her photo taken much less shared on social media - yet she admitted that she looked at the photos of others without leaving comments or likes and would also post photos of others without showing them first - when asked if she thought this was rather unfair she said that she did not. Almost everyone disagreed with her but simultaneously admitted to having shared images without gaining formal approval first) Are we obliged to ask people whether they mind having their faces tagged & their lives shared via your daily post? Is it open slather if everyone's doing it? 

We touched on the rather sticky topic of what you should and should not share -  and how to tell people that their posts, images, tweets were distressing, distasteful, disparaging or (even worse) boring. Most agreed that you stopped following these offenders (or hid their timeline) whilst others suggested that it was best to let people know if they were "sh*t at all things social media" (not my quote... wish it was though)

We contended on the importance of teaching our children that ALL media forms have an agenda - usually money. Was it important to let them know this in order to empower them as further consumers devourers of the web? Do our kids even care as much about privacy as we do? 
Should we be teaching them about the importance of privacy?? (Ok... I'll admit that I threw that pigeon in amongst the cats... oops Freudian slip)

We debated on the matter of credit. The notion that when you take a photo of art (graffiti, public sculptures, buskers etc) are you always obliged to link the source? And what of your own ideas? If you were inspired by something you spotted on Design Sponge was it your duty to say so before you madly uploaded images of your mini kitchen reno?

Was it possible to be too anal? Too liberal? Are any ideas original? 

And what of all the posts, photos, competitions themselves? Is there anything original left to be said? 
Are we sick of slick shots of perfect cappuccinos and cake (guilty) or the flowers that decorated the table (guilty) or the funky decor (guilty) that clearly was not our idea and yet here we are receiving 47 likes for taking a photo of someone elses' styling genius (guilty!!) Or is this act of digital candour merely "sharing the biz love" (NOT my words) 

Is this a ridiculous waste of mental stress? Are we to accept that when they invented "screen shots" they destroyed copyright? And who is they??

Oh it was a colourful and enlightening debate (waste of an hour). I think some friendships are no longer on the same footing and perhaps a few Facebook pals are now unknowingly pissed off, shunned blocked. I left feeling that buzz you feel when you still have things to shout out self righteously say. More importantly I left realising that everything on the web was both unique and ordinary all at once. 

A sort of global school photo. When you squint and look closely you spot yourself but take a step back and you've seen it all before.

What are your thoughts people? 

Come on... speak freely! 


Aside - I'm well aware of the fact this post is fraught with strikethrough text, parenthesis and frightening grammatical errors... that was deliberate and I blame social media. :-) xx