Quo Vadis

Recently some friends of mine took a four day trip to Paris to mark their 28th wedding anniversary. So far so normal, but they both have iPhones and one has an iPad and this resulted in their being able to share their trip with all their friend’s real and unreal on Face Book. Every few hours a new message and matching photos appeared. “We are walking by the Pyramids of the Louvre”, “We are dining at the Boisson D’Argent” Pictures.

This was kept up right through till a shot of the EuroStar at the Gare du Nord ready for departure.

Quite apart from the question, ‘Why’, which I won’t go into, this made me ponder on the digital, socially networked life, we now live.

When I was touring New Zealand and California I sent copious postcards, say two to each close friend for a three month visit. I am regarded as, post card prolific, but posting on Facebook every hour? Would I do it if I had an iPad?

An interesting question, but possibly more interesting is the question of what does all this social networking actually mean? Are we now a closer and better knit society than before the internet and it’s wonderous and amazing toy’s?

I confess, I love the toy’s and the internet I am saving for an ipad, also I belong to Face Book. I did try to leave as I felt it was a waste of time and too superficial. I went back as I realised that Facebook lets me keep a finger, as it were, on the pulse or health of my far flung friends. I realised this when I was called and told that a dear friend was having to undergo chemo-therapy all over again.

The person in question would not have written of this, but did post a quick little note on Face Boom. I rejoined.

There is even a chat facility, but frankly even though I am an eager chatter always, just tying a few lines waiting then responding seems to me too sterile and vacuous.

I tried to think of it as a sort of electronic parish where we all are aware of each other, but that failed as one can get abuse as well as kindness.

So are people using FB as a surrogate for having real one to one friendships?

Well the answer of course is ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. With so many thousands all theories are true.

But this need, along with ‘twitter’ to inform the world of our every move does worry me and yet I don’t condemn it as I can see the value and use for good that can exist.

But when a couple take the world along on a romantic trip and feel the need to tell people of their every movement, well then yes, I do worry what this may bode for the future.

Will we all be tagged and monitored 24/7/365? This could be done, it is only a short step away from the all present CCTV monitoring we currently are subject to.

When does protection become social control and have we now lost the right to privacy?

Well Face book pretty much can say, ‘Yes’, You Have’ you do it to yourselves, so what reason do you have to complain when a benevolent (?) nation extends it?

Well, one can see their point really. Finally I want to say that I am not a Luddite but just a worried man.

Copyright 2012 Edmund Preston

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