We hear a lot about our privacy being invaded by such modern technologies as cell phones, Twitter, FaceBook, credit and debit card usage tracking, etc. I wonder, though, did we ever really have the privacy we’re claiming to have lost?
An immediate example that comes to mind is the telepathic communication between parents living in small communities and close-knit neighborhoods when their children do something wrong. I know I never got home before the news of my disgraceful behavior did. This happened even when we were living with no telephone.
Then there were the party lines. Do you remember them? Anyone could listen in. (How many times did you drop a handset when someone yelled, “I know you’re there listening, you get off right now or I’m telling your mother!”)
Of course, the parental communication zone had nothing on the school gossip-rumor incubation zone. Age never mattered. It began in kindergarten. I don’t think it ever stops. The topics may change over time – from who got a new bicycle to who was dating who or who got what job – but it is still gossip and rumor.
It’s a very active part of society. From co-workers talking to each other to the people who you see publically, news of what you think, do, say, wear and dress gets around quickly….although not necessarily accurately. I’m convinced when they complete translations of cave paintings, they’re going to discover they were the tabloids of the day.
What technology has brought to the mix is just a function of speed and distance. While it may have taken news of bad behavior about 15 minutes to reach your folks, today that same behavior announcement can travel around the world twice in about 10 minutes – in multiple languages – with multiple twists on hairstyles, companions, clothing, locations, money spent, and/or drugs consumed.
It’s still the same old same old gossip/rumor mill.
Only now it’s on steroids.
Carol Smith / Training Manager