So if you listened to the last episode of our podcast, you know that the topic up for discussion under the first segment was “Privacy vs Publicity”, and if you follow the site you know that this is the “Metaphysical Topic of the Week”. There are plenty of people on the internet ranting about social media and all of it’s dire effects already, so I’m not here to do that. But, my co-host, Kevin Castro, on the last podcast, who picked the this topic, brought up a very interesting point about lack of privacy in today’s culture.
But before we get too deep into, just a quick summarization of the subject at hand. So think about how things were before the age of social media, before everyone felt that their values, beliefs, philosophies, lifestyles, life stories, needed to be announced to the world. Most of us can’t even remember when any news about us or our personal lives were circulated just amongst our group of friends. I personally feel silly asking anyone who I follow on Snapchat what’s new with them. It’s a trippy thought that you don’t even have to meet someone in person to know things like their name, where they live, what they do for a living, their religious background, their political preferences, their relationship status, where they are at any given moment. These things use to be private pieces of information that one would only reveal to family, friends, or people who asked for such information who the individual giving said information could trust.
Nowadays though, it’d be silly to deem any of the aforementioned information as private, or personal. On the show, Kevin brought up the questions that this spurs: Since information that used to be personal is now accessible by anyone with a smartphone, do people really care about who I am? Do I take who other people are fore granted? Since people can easily control how they’re seen on social media, can I trust that the person is who they say they are, that they believe or do or live the way they say they do?
This leads to the very interesting point Kevin made on the show. That, although we control what we choose to give of ourselves publicly to the world, it is the prevailing norm to allow the world to see what would otherwise be private information, and every time we give any of this information about us away, we are giving other people a degree of power over us. Think about it: If someone standing right in front of you knows nothing about you, if they’re looking at you as someone that is a complete stranger to them, they are completely vulnerable, totally powerless. They can’t use anything about yourself against you to hurt you, or for you to help you at all.
But as you talk to this person, as you get to know them and they get to know you, as they begin to build rapport with you and you begin to find various basis to trust them, you slowly reveal bits of information about yourself, making the other person less and less of a stranger, giving them more and more advantages over you, which once again, can be a good or bad thing, but in the end it’s something you ultimately choose.
Today, we easily give away to people who may or may not care, even strangers, who we are, what we represent, and even where we are at a given moment in time, and each time we do, we’re giving away an intimate piece of ourselves to others. What’re your thoughts on this? Do you think our culture demands that we give away details about ourselves too easily? Or is it actually a cool, positive thing that we can use different outlets now that allow us to express ourselves and our values on a much larger, more significant scale? Share your thoughts below!