You know what this whole Wikileaks-releasing-the-diplomatic-cables thing reminds me of? Facebook, and how Facebook forces account holders to be unitary people, rather than the different faces they like to present to work and family and friends. I propose that this type of exposure, tying words and actions back to their originator, is what the internet inevitably does. Rather than think about the relative power balances between countries, I see this as America and other nations trying to work by the old ways as the far greater force of the internet does what it does*.
The parallel to water is that in our case, the far greater force is the coming scarcity. I think of scarcity as a sticky blob, and all the jostling players trying to push it on to someone else. In the grips of massive forces like this, the daily politiking is fun and interesting, but the people who are thinking about what it means to have that force applied to us are the ones who will be best positioned down the line. I don’t have a great sense of what the other big forces will be. The internet. Rapid onset of water scarcity. Incidentally, I think markets are another big force, with inexorable outcomes. That’s why I don’t love the ideas of water markets here until I know we want a society shaped by the market criteria of economic efficiency. Before we loose big forces, we should decide if we like the way they push us (or that the trade-offs are worth it).
*I have heard the argument that Facebook takes us back to the very small town format, where everybody knows everybodies’ business and reputations are forever. This has been the direction the internet would take us since it was born. Hope you enjoy it, Secretary of State Clinton.
4 responses to “Just one goat, just one time.”
I think you just encapsulated what scares me about Facebook and such. Reputations are forever. Good if you have a good reputation. But it means that those learning steps, or starting over, could be a giant mess. And mistakes aren’t really allowed. Except for some people, who can keep making them over and over again without losing much reputation.
Not sure I like this.
I don’t understand Facebook and participate skeptically, which makes me feel craven. When I post URLs there about water, it’s marketing. It’s wishful thinking that someone might follow a link and decide to rip out their lawn. I’m more frank, more me at the bank or check out line at Ralph’s. I notice friends trilling cryptic messages to one another about tv shows and food trucks and politics, and feel alternately intrigued and left out and snobbish/old. They seem to be having fun. So much cheer that I might need my teeth capped just to grind them down again. I’d no more post what I had for breakfast on the Internet than I’d purposefully bore a friend, unless of course it were terrific, in which case I’d either keep it a secret to serve and dazzle friends or sell it to the LA Times in the form of an article, in which case I’d at least be paid for my exhibitionism. But this is a digression. On to scarcity. I like seeing discussion of it is as a blob that is being pushed around. Los Angeles is truly scary and dysfunctional, blob-chasing wise, which is why I post on Facebook.
I look at Wiki Leaks as more of a flood. Small scandals I can follow. Torrents just make me feel sad for the people wading in the mud.
Experience has taught me not to mingle my technological lives. Therefore, Facebook is personal and I do not link my professional blogs to it. My friends who want to know about it will ask and then I freely tell, but I have no link on my facebook page to my blog. And my name is common enough that no one would be able to figure it out anyway.
To be honest, I don’t know what the fuss is all about. If you don’t want your private information public, don’t post it. Seems simple enough to me. I rarely post anything on facebook, rarely look at it myself. All these games and pokes and stuff .. I don’t know, seems like a major waste of time. So I choose not to do it. Others can choose differently, not my business or concern.
To me, common sense has prevailed all of my life. It’s pretty simple. If you want something kept private, don’t let someone photograph you doing it, don’t write it down, or whatever. Take care to keep your business private. While the internet has made it easier, it’s nothing new. (Remember Miss America, Vanessa Williams?)
Hey man, where’s the like button?