I like to think that everybody has a story. I truly believe that even the most seemingly ordinary person, has a thought, an idea, an achievement or even a philosophy that, given the opportunity, I can learn from. I study ordinary people and record their ways of moving, their mode of dress and their non-verbal forms of expression to use for my characters. In this way, I like to think that I’m finding something special in everybody.
Does that mean that everything somebody does is special? Absolutely not.
If we value every act and every person equally; if we constantly tell everybody how special they are, then how do we recognise things which truly ARE special? Lots of life is about the mundane, humdrum reality of simply existing. It’s this boring-ness that allows us to know when something truly spectacular occurs.
This is the beginning of my problem with applications like Twitter. The rest of my concerns may sound a little paranoid (even to me) but paranoia is becoming disconcertingly close to reality.
Following our inability to differentiate between those things which are special and those which are not; it would seem the next step in our degeneration as citizens and consumers is an inability to determine what is important information and what is not. Recent studies have shown that current generation of adolescents is much less likely to keep abreast of world news etc because the news is neither personal nor interactive. This boils down to mean that ‘if it’s not about me, if I don’t get to talk back, then I’m not interested’.
Ignorance makes people vulnerable. It makes them extraordinarily easy to manipulate. It leads to the kind of social disintegration that is currently, still the stuff of fictional novels (Ben Elton’s Blind Faith, for example).
That’s only my second concern. The third is the real cracker (and I may be crackers).
Has anybody noticed in recent times how we readily we accept technological intervention in our lives? This stems from an almost inherent belief that all technology is good and therefore we must use it (called the technological imperative)…except when it starts going bad.
Consider the security cameras located around some parts of London and now also in Ipswich (Australia). Originally provided for our security, now these cameras observe and even amend our behaviour (in Ipswich they tell litterbugs to stop being so filthy and to pick up their litter). On London’s trains, the cameras are now attached to microphones so that the driver can tell “the girl in carriage four wearing the blue shirt” to “please sit down and stop making such a noise.” (Okay, okay, I’d had a few drinks, but there were only me and my friends IN the carriage!)
When do seemingly fun and safe applications like Twitter and Security cameras become a form of social control? And how will we know it’s happening if we’re so self-involved we’re not paying attention to anything but ourselves?
Go on…tell me I’m wrong…