There is no More Privacy. Period.

13 Oct
Tyler Clementi

Tyler Clementi

For me, the sweet irony of the movie “The Social Network” is that, despite Mark Zuckerberg’s continually shrugging off the concerns of privacy advocates who say Facebook doesn’t do enough to shield user’s privacy, Zuck himself has had his character (or some version of it) laid bare for the world to see in this movie.  Try as you might, but as one of my favorite songwriters, Jorge Drexler wrote, “Nada es secreto en los vericuetos de la informática” (Nothing is secret in the winding paths of the information superhighway).

To a certain degree, we’ve all become accustomed to this fact in 2010.  I often think of how different online use is now from back when I first began exploring these winding paths in the mid 90’s, when my friends and I in high school would enter AOL chat rooms and pretend to be models in New York City.  The internet was a place to subsume your real identity and surf anonymously.  Now, Google and Facebook know everything about what you’re looking for and what you’re clicking on- and it can all be traced back to YOU.

In this new internet age, we boldly assert our likes and dislikes online, through Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and blogs.  We choose what we broadcast to the world- but not necessarily what others broadcast about us.  Which leads me to the twin cases last week of Tyler Clementi and Karen Owen.

Tyler Clementi had, quite possibly, the world’s worst freshman roommate.  Maybe I’m a little too old for my generation, but I cannot comprehend how someone could record their roommate remotely, via webcam, without said roommate’s knowledge, and then broadcast it to other students.  I can’t sympathize with that impulse to humiliate, especially as someone who was humiliated.  So did Tyler kill himself two days later because of bad grades, family trouble, a broken heart?  Signs point to the young college freshman taking his own life because of the humiliation of having his private moment broadcast for all to see- without his permission.

Sometimes humiliation comes at the hand of a slut who gives herself a personal high five for every varsity athlete that she has sex with.  There are a myriad of questions raised in the mock thesis written by hoebag extraordinaire Karen Owen– lack of sexual discretion, modern hookup morés, how a girl like her could have gotten the SAT scores high enough to be admitted to Duke University.  Out of prurient curiosity (and a dull Thursday nigh), I perused Karen’s thesis.  It felt like rubbernecking at a car accident, and I had to stop.  Once again, chalk it up to generational differences.  I don’t read the nastier gossip sites, because I want to gaze and admire, not snicker and sneer.  I can’t delight in laughing at other’s shortcomings (I can’t stomach D-listed). So I can’t call it feminism when a girl shares every last detail of her every sexual experience in college for her friends to see.  Has she never heard of the forward button?

So I feel for the young men in these stories, who had their intimate sexual experiences broadcast for the world to sneer at.  Nothing really is secret anymore in the winding paths of the information superhighway.  At least not when we share about others what (we would hope) they would never share about themselves.  And then we laugh at them.

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2 Responses to “There is no More Privacy. Period.”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Impulse Control and Social Media « The Lebanexican - November 22, 2010

    […] and professionally, than as a way of projecting myself to everyone. Ick. I still cherish some sense of privacy (you’ll notice this blog is NOT under my real name).  Is it possible to impose some level of […]

  2. It Always Gets Better « The Lebanexican - May 22, 2011

    […]  It is grassroots, initiated by a concerned advocate in response to the increased news reports of gay teens committing suicide in response to intense bullying.  I previously wrote my thoughts on the case of poor young Tyler Clementi, who threw himself off […]

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