Monday, February 20, 2012

Who am I?

Fact: Digital is pervasive in our daily life.

Proof: If you were sitting alone with your phone in your hand, waiting for just 5 minutes.  What would you do?

Yup.  You surf.  You check your Facebook (even if you've checked in like 5 minutes ago), you check your Twitter, you check your email, you Stumble Upon, you Whatsapp, you continue your Plant versus Zombies, anything.  You would do anything except to sit still for just.5.minutes.

Today, I read about BBH's take on our virtual self versus our real self.  The continuous debate on transparency online.  Thanks to Facebook for putting a profile on everyone of us, it seemed natural to take information and assume it's real from the social site now.  Thanks to Facebook again for their timeline, we now can forever immortalize our status updates or our lunch last Saturday.  Of course everyone is worried, especially when 'face recognition' technology's usage is becoming more and more pervasive online.  Last night's party now spills over to next morning's horror.  What's said here, doesn't stay here anymore - it travels everywhere.  But... are we over-worrying ourselves?

Well, I believe there're generally two camps of thoughts.  The Fearful One - what's gonna happen to my privacy?  I don't want everyone to know what I had for lunch.  I didn't upload my photos but my celebrity-type friends decide I should relish on the same status.

Well... there's one way to conquer that fear, you know.  'Disconnect'.  But yes, of course... you want that cake but you don't want the whole cake.  And you just want the good bits of chocolate without the cream, hey I understand.  Here's an idea... why don't you build your own Facebook and stay there?  People greatly underestimate their power over social sites - they can control a lot more of their privacy settings to ensure their anonymity but of course, you need a bit of homework and tinkering around to come to terms with what you want to share, and what should remain in the closet.

Then there's the other camp - The Exposed One - social sites are becoming more and more a personal branding tool - whether it is to get more friends, more business, more exposure, more stalkers - these people are truly enjoying the power of social media and making it work for them, instead of the other way round.  There's no such thing as privacy setting to them because their nature is like a virtual butterfly.  Now, I know this sounds a little negative... which brings me back to a conversation I had with a dear digital friend the other day.  IF social media is indeed a personal 'branding' tool of some sort for some people (e.g they sound overtly optimistic on Facebook even though in real life, you know they're not), my question is; is it that bad when these status updates are actually a way for them to intra-fuel themselves to be someone better?  Well, at least that's how they want the community to perceive themselves to be.  So, they upload photos that make them happy or show them doing happy things.  Is it not also a double-edged sword that truly rings the saying 'fake it till you make it'?  They may be faking it initially, but I believe they will come around and they will be more optimistic at the end of the day.  Thanks to?  Status updates.  Well, of course we can go on debating on this for a long time.

Personally, I think old skool rule works for me.  RESPECT.  If you know your friends don't wanna be tagged, DON'T tag them - these has nothing to do with privacy settings but e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g to do with common sense.  If you don't like what some of your friends are saying on Facebook but not enough to 'unfriend' them, click UNSUBSCRIBE - don't be a hater.  Don't diss someone online if you don't have the balls to do it offline.  And if you don't want people to think of you in a certain way, then DON'T upload that photo.  They may not say it but it doesn't mean they don't think it.  If it bothers you, time to edit your friend list!  The problem here is that we're opening up the Johari Window for debate and a lot of people can't handle that.  The level of transparency on social media allows people to love and criticize us, and ultimately to discover more about ourselves breaking that physical proximity.  If that kind of emotional proximity freaks you out, then keep calm and moonwalk away from the web...

Social media is just... another messenger.  It's a tool, it's neutral.  You use the hammer to secure nails or use it to hurt, it's entirely up to you.  Don't blame the hammer for human's lack of control of their intention and motivation.  If your partner threw a fit because of your sizzling photos with your ex on someone's wall, don't blame Facebook.  Blame yourself for not sorting your ex-files out.  You could, still... in a very far-fetched, low blow sort of way, blame your friend for lacking common sense :) But don't blame technology.

As the digital space evolves out of proportion, it's easy for us to retaliate with negativity because we don't know what's gonna happen in the future.  We all fear what we don't know and when we fear, we do stupid things.  All I'm just sayin' is, whatever stupid we intend to do, do not control the growth of what's natural lest we evolve back to stone age.  If our office network system is prone to virus attacks, you do not, I repeat, DO NOT unplug the router and expect people to stop downloads.  You improve on the system, monitor malicious sites, zero in on guilty individuals (not collective punishment!) and upgrade the darn anti-virus software!  Speaking from actual experience yea?

Well... thanks BBH Lab for opening the can of worms on this beautiful albeit wet Monday morning.  I'm lovin' it and a good day to you too :)

No comments:

Post a Comment