The lawn needs mowing. We’re going over to the Griffins’ for a BBQ tonight and you know what darling; can’t we stay home and watch the big game? It’s the post-season and that Margot is so, well, you know…
This is your life today. Yesterday it wasn’t. You may have been a male stripper like Channing Tatum, or an illegal base jumper, or a painter in Tahiti.
We all have a lot of yesterdays. That’s what memories are for. At least, that’s what they used to be for. Today, we have the internet and more specifically social media.
That’s the place where you and many others can go to see what your life looked like at 3.23am on 12th August 2006, where you had been, what you had eaten, who you had kissed and who you’re now going home with. Awkward.
This is the granular, human face of big data. In most cases, this type of ‘too much information’ will never rear its ugly head. Because let’s face it, unless you’re a politician, sportsperson or celebrity, who cares?
But before you contentedly get out the hedge clipper or start tossing the salad, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe future employers will be able to reference potential employees’ detailed digital history. Maybe your earlier life shenanigans will go against you when you try to get a passport or renew your driver’s license.
Yes, I’m being alarmist and Orwellian but stranger things have happened. Every time a new criminal – or their victim – is identified, where’s the first place the media goes for photos and any information they can find? Social media.
We live our lives on social platforms because it gives us instant gratification and it’s fun! Supposedly it’s harmless and, for most of us only meant for consumption by our friends. That’s what privacy settings are all about, right?
But the information is there forever. A digital record of that post you deleted, friend you unliked or blog you shut down is stored somewhere. And there are many who can access it.
One of the starkest realities that have been exposed by social media is how poor the judgement is of so many people with what they post and say online. Have you thought differently/worse of a person because of their social media content? A Facebook friend responded to one of my posts lauding Angelina Jolie’s proactive decision to have a double mastectomy with “What’s the matter? Don’t you like boobs?” True story.
After the Bali terrorist bombings in 2002 the Australian government put out an ad campaign telling citizens to ‘Be Alert, Not Alarmed’. When it comes to what you expose about your life online the advice rings just as true today.
Images Courtesy: usmagazine.com. & dataart.com