Paul Carr hits the nail on the head concerning the ongoing hysteria amongst many mainstream journos as to the relevance of Twitter, social networking et al to political culture:
…every time a scandal emerges involving the technology – be it McBride’s email or American teenagers ‘sexting‘ naked photos to each other, we hear the same crap from journalists – that the web, and email and mobile phones are making everyone behave in scandalous ways they never did before. If that’s true then I have some amazing YouTube footage of a bear shitting in the woods, which I found next to a damning video of the Pope taking communion.
The only difference between the way humans have been behaving badly for years, and how they behave badly in the internet age is the fact that now there’s always someone else watching.
And that seems to be the key point that politicians and more traditional media sources seem to have yet to properly absorb.
As networked recording devices become ubiquitous we’re going to have to learn to deal with a reduction in personal privacy. Further Carr adds:
…as a generation grows up that has never known true privacy, things will start to change. And they’ll change for the better.
This is something that’s been bothering me recently: like many people I’ve always had the vague idea I can be one person online and another in real life. This idea, however, is false. My generation and every generation hence will go through life leaving a sticky trail of hyperlinks, tweets, and FaceBook photos; an online miasma that everyone will possess and everyone will have to accept.
As privacy is reduced maybe prurient voyeurism and hypocrisy will also diminish. Part of the enjoyment of gossip is the secretive aspect of it: but if everything about everyone is out in the open then there will be no need to fear slur and innuendo.
So maybe the rise of ubiquitous recording and surveillance will lead to a more caring, more honest, and less hypocritical society?