2 min read

The Internet: Open to the Public

Teaching little children is always an adventure. There is no predicting what thoughts or observations will come blurting out at the most inopportune time. This is an understandable embarrassment to their sweet parents and an unbearable misery to any older siblings listening in. On one occasion, a trio of siblings who were enjoy the prime of their single-digit lives were explaining to me the delicate social balance of their home when Big Sister came swooping in with the kind and earnest command, “Guys, let’s not tell stories.”

My mother has given a similar edict when guests have come to visit our urban home and we would enjoy entertaining them with thrilling escapades of our local law enforcement. Legend has it, one couple came to spend three days at our home but went left after one night. Mom attributes that to our Cops-meets-Garrison Keeler narrative. Sometimes the truths can “creep people out”.

Because of this, I don’t usually tell my blog readers what I know. I know that most of you visit on a daily basis. I know that 57.14% of you are reading this using Firefox on your Windows computers. I know that 3.76% of you are Mac users. Those of you Windows users are enjoy Vista to the tune of 8 to 1. I know that almost all of you are using widescreen monitors. I know that 2 out of 3 of you have been here at least 10 times before. I know which towns your visiting from.

I just recently came to the BlogPulse party. BlogPulse is a blog tracking site that keeps a finger in every wind of blogging. As of right now, of the 112 million blogs it’s watching, 526 posted an update in the last 24 hours, but 85,878 blogs were created in that same time period. More interesting is what people are blogging about. This handy chart gives us the bird’s eye view,

This tells us that those blogging are probably talking about their lives or their favorite entertainment followed closely by sports.

We would be wise to note that all of this information is anonymous. This is simply a technical tool doing what technical tools do. It’s a machine. It doesn’t care about you.

Content, on the other hand, is about you. Your profile pictures, your interests, your location, pictures of your family, pictures of your friends, real time updates on where you’re going to dinner and with whom. All of this information is accessible, not just by a thoughtless machine, but by anyone on planet earth with the techno-savvy know-how of my grandparents. That kind of personal detail was provided by you at no one’s request.

Deep within ourselves, we cherish a refuge from the public eye. Yet it seems that, more and more, our special sanctuary is becoming a studio. However appealing this is to our equally strong sense of ego-mania, I submit that our broadcast lifestyle is driven more by a marriage between narcissism and technological availability than it is by thoughtful, educated participation in the wild west culture of the internet.

To some degree, I hope to scare you all just enough so that you’ll pause for a moment and consider the world in which you’re writing. As we sit alone in the glow of our monitors, it’s good to remind ourselves that we’re not talking to ourselves. We’re talking to the world. The internet is open to the public. Perhaps if we can get our heads around that, we’ll be more responsible.