Friday, January 7, 2011

Too Much Information: The Questions

Due to the weather, the highly anticipated panel discussion, "Too Much Information: Privacy in the Age of Social Networking" will have to be postponed to later in the spring. However, this, of all topics, is one that can be discussed online. Below is the list of questions I was planning to use as a basis for the discussion. Take a look at them and if you have an observation to make, leave your comment below. Teens and adults are invited to participate. Meanwhile, enjoy the snow.

- Define “friend”- and how has that definition changed? What does it mean now to have a friend?

- How has the definition of friend changed for you?

- Is a person’s popularity measured by how many “friends” they have?

- What do you feel comfortable telling about yourself to your closest friends – and how does that differ from what you post to your “friends?”

- What constitutes “too much information?”

- What is self branding and is that a good thing? Is it new or just a new form of something people have been doing all along?

- Are adults ruining Facebook?

- Is it a good thing that adults now routinely rediscover old friends and relatives that they hadn't seen in decades?

- Does the current culture (texting, Skype, Facebook) make reunions obsolete? Are we in fact NEVER out of touch with our friends from home once you go off to college?

- Are we relating to others or simply keeping up on the facts of their lives (who got into what college, who had a haircut today... whose kids just threw up...) is all this an example of TMI???

- Does social networking reduce or increase the degree to which people gossip?

- Ashton Kutcher has posted numerous Tweets featuring vivid details tracking the state of his marriage with Demi Moore, including photos of her in her underwear. (Thankfully, their marriage was reignited recently when they were in Israel). In the past, such stories would have been printed by the tabloids against the will of the celebrities. What does it say about our society that now celebrities are voluntarily exposing themselves to the public. Is this Too Much Information?

- Should football players Tweet from the sidelines during the game? Soldiers from the front?

- Think of how social networking allowed word to filter our of Iran following the elections there, or from Haiti after the earthquake. How has this changed society? Are these changes for the good?

- In the film "The King's Speech" the heir to the throne of England was able to walk the streets of London unnoticed - this was an era before television. Could that happen today? How, with Facebook, have we all become, to a degree, like celebrities? Or are we just celebrities in our own eyes?

- What is the impact of cyberbullying? Is it overblown or are the dangers worse than described? Do you know students who have contemplated suicide because of it?

- Does social networking / texting, etc / increase the degree to which people in high school / college cheat? Or does it act as protection against cheating (since our actions are so “out there” and can be seen by the whole world)?Have the shifting boundaries of privacy changes what a newspaper might ordinarily cover?

- Is there any difference at this point between bloggers and mainstream media?

- Will newspapers exist in 20 years?

- How will people communicate?

- Facebook or Twitter postings often warn of dangers - anything from a flu outbreak to a traffic jam up ahead, to a road blocked with snow. How have social networks taken on the role of the old town crier, who would post important notices and alert the public of significant happenings? What about the Moslem muezzin, who calls people to prayer, a role that in ancient Israel was taken on by a priest at the Temple (the prayer "Barchu" was that call), and a shofar or trumpet blower standing on the ramparts.

- Given what happened with Wikileaks and with cameras on every phone, can we assume that, if we are relatively well known, anything and everything we say and do will likely be made public?

- Even if we are not famous, doesn’t the current environment eliminate privacy in all our communications as well?

- Is that a good thing?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Regarding the concept of virtual friends. I believe this should be limited to those individuals with whom one has had a live interaction or at the very least, a friend in common that has had a face to face interaction with that person. I believe this is an important consideration because it is so very easy for anyone to misrepresent themselves "behind the screen".
Renea Hammerman