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This is a trackback to the always-wise and relevant @JonDale and his blog post today. Jon tweeted at me that my comments were twice the length of his post. What else is new?
Jon: I agree with many of your points on the missed
opportunity of a more open, sharing-focused society. My major agreement
is your insight on fear.
Where I disagree is with 1.) how Facebook uses that information and
2.) that most everyone is participating in something they're not ready
for. It doesn't take much for Facebook to reverse the course of their
controls from opt-out to opt-in. We make these requirements of iTunes
when we buy music, we sign mindless 97 page terms of service agreements
before pressing "confirm" all the time. Further, I can say that I have
recently had to go from being extremely open and gregarious to more
constrained and thoughtful with my privacy settings because of the
cross-referencing of an organization like Facebook. I like my comments. I
stand behind my comments. I like what I post. But it gets
cross-pollinated and re-distributed via the open doors into other
people's information. Social media does not move in linear progressions,
but forked spokes. One person can intentionally be driving contact and
looking to tighten bonds with one other person, or one group, and
inadvertently be severing communication with others. Yes, that's always
been the case. But the quality of the communication has gone down as the
quantity has increased, and the ability to understood by all these
different mediums of communication distribution has gone down as they
number of mediums has increased. And that's the bigger point: fear of
misusing the system and being exposed as an evolutionary simpleton
(ironically, just like everyone else in the experiment!).
We are in a beta stage that is moving very quickly with a mass
audience of 400 million plus participating. But let's face it: face to
face communication remains the highest and best form of communication,
followed by over the phone, then email. Take face to face for example:
there is what is said, and then how it is said. Eyebrows and facial
temples communicate amazing amounts of information. Posture? Chin and
nose position? If the majority of our communication is non-verbal, and
things like inflections, cadence and tone matter greatly, then email and
beyond are lacking. For purposes of discussion,
here is Australian Horse Trainer Bart Cummings... how much emotion and language is being communicated via his eyebrows in a still picture?
Now imagine him in video where you can hear cadence.
Now imagine him face-to-face where you can feel the temperature of his tone, the room, the audience, etc.? I think his horses react and take cues from his eyebrows and gaze... it's a primal form of communication.
Privacy standards and opt-in or opt-outs don't undo 2 million years of human evolution.
In the span of a half decade,
we have migrated as new beings who have antiquated email and endorsed
these secondary levels of communication as our primary-and-standard. I
think so much of the privacy conversation is dishonest because it has
nothing to do with privacy; privacy is the cause celebre because it's
sexy, but it's the symptom on top of our fear. Most experiment
participants have brains that have (surprise!) not evolved to the new
primary-standard medium. Count me as one of the many. They/I don't know
how to chat, text, or video message as a primary form of communication,
and therefore consistently stumble, boggle and offend, and then react to
the "privacy" factor which allows all this diffuse connectivity.
agree with you Jon is that the real driver here is fear. But in turn, I
think privacy is the easy whipping boy in the media-driven
conversation. It isn't privacy at all. It is our inability to evolve at
light speed to a new standard form of communication that pretty
consistently fails or embarrasses.
What is required of our central processing faculties is pretty
astounding, and while there is no restriction on speech per se, there is
an evolutionary restriction on being understood. I think that latter
part is a portion of the privacy factor: as active players in a mass
beta test where the rules get made on the go we are afraid due to our
agreements with openness, of being known as failures, broadcasting our
indiscretions unknowingly to an increasingly distant, virtual audience
we say we know, but really don't.
Posted at 01:06 PM in Books, Current Affairs, Godin | Permalink
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