A Little Privacy, Please?!

quote-all-conditioning-aims-at-that-making-people-like-their-inescapable-social-destiny-aldous-huxley-312195Some people like to tag every moment of their lives – eating, running, sleeping, goofing off, cooking, watching…something… or walking ….through the house…now it’s on the street…nope, catchup….we’re in the yard now….hahahahaha, gotcha, we’re in the forest…beach, now…hurry up, we’re already on the train!!! I’ll confess to being secretly curious over how they pull this off…who is ever there to suspend all those moments and capture them!!?? I always get this sense that God is omnipresent to them, snapping pics as they go as if to document a precious life that may appear as the Second Coming! 🙂 But not everyone is as public about their private lives. Here’s the testimonial of a young woman  who expresses her sense of discomfort over pictures shared on the internet (see here: http://www.gurl.com/2013/05/10/take-down-facebook-pictures-online/). In her own words:

The big thing was that I just felt that they didn’t show “me” the way I worked to convey myself to people. They were old pictures and I was a very different person and I didn’t like these lingering photos making me feel kind of uncomfortable. I just didn’t want them living online.

Now, this is a friend of mine I hadn’t talked to in a couple of years. These pictures were maybe like five or six years old. And yet, I wrote this whole long message about how I would really appreciate if she took down those pictures of me, even though they were untagged. It made me uncomfortable knowing that they existed and I didn’t have final “approval” over them, mainly because they were from so long ago.

My friend was totally sweet about it and took them down. However, it’s probably worth nothing that this is not the first time that I have done this. That’s what is making me worry that I have a tendency to overreact to these pictures that probably to other people don’t seem like a big deal at all. How much control can I have over other people when it comes to their pictures… that happen to have me in them?

It’s unnerving to me that she should be made to feel excessive, over-the-top, hyper-sensitive…take your pick. I have experienced this first hand myself, and truth be told I was not quite as lucky as this young woman. I recall the first time that my very polite request was met with hostility – I believe she said something like: you shouldn’t be in the damn picture if you don’t want people to see it! Interesting assumption! If you’re in a pic expect that it will be uploaded for the world to see. ASTONISHING! She did take it down; but since then I had become more cautious about people snapping pics with their iPhones. Again isn’t this getting things the wrong way around? Should one be mindful of how others invasively snap and post pictures of them; or should one be permitted the luxury to walk this earth without running the risk of being exposed?

Another point that I relate to is how one’s public persona is an outward expression of self. Seen in this light I think it not too outrageous that how and with whom one is depicted can be an issue. And this is not to say that a picture reveals sensitive information, or is somehow untoward, but that it simply does not speak to one’s sense of self, and thereby makes one feel invaded, violated, trampled upon, alienated. Is it too much to ask that a picture that is from days past be removed because it is now the source of embarrassment? Again, there is no outwardly obvious infraction. It is a personalized invested sense of self of which I speak. I can’t know what people have in their minds that are determined to remain silent and yet gleefully in control of your face-online; I can’t know if there are secret agendas, ego-plays, double and triple narratival scenes, regret, impotence, or even an inverted sense of care. All I know, all any of us ever know, is what is made plain to see. And isn’t that the point: where there is no engagement and clarity of spirit, we are all only the sum of our internet parts! 😦

*Though the Huxley quote may seem extreme in this context, it may prove to be hypo-sensitive to the underlying gravity of this scenario.*

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No Text Back!!!?????

e94b1011d24e2736c519f5a8bb757653What is Netiquette? Basically acceptable conduct on the net. Don’t get excited, I don’t have anything terribly deep or exciting to share. I’m not a fan of social media;  I’m also not one of those that simply advocates that the value of all things is entirely determined by use. Environments host structures of meaning which however elastic nonetheless are the oxygen in which all forms of engagement come to life! One thing in particular disturbs me regarding netiquette: texting. Like all forms of inter-human communication, texting is not immune to various inter-gender, inter-sexual, inter-political plays. So ya, as a young girl I recall how boys wouldn’t return calls right away in order to jack up their sense of self-worth and invariably put me – any girl – in her place! “Dude, wtf, don’t be such a douchebag,  there’s protocol!!! Call backs before the 3-day grace period make you a puts! She’ll think you’re desperate and that she’s worthless!!! And whatever you do, do not, I repeat DO NOT even acknowledge her at school. If you see her in the corridors, turn quickly away.  How else will she know how lucky she is to have your attention??!!!” At first dejected, girls soon learned how to read silent gestures and boys soon learned to follow standardized plays. We learned early on not to ever say what we mean, and to be “clear” in our overt indifference. It’s truly a miracle people ever get together at all!

Texting has just exacerbated the ridiculous! Bling, bling!!! Noises familiar to anyone with a phone these days! Bling, bling! Hey you have friends! (as my daughter mockingly likes to say!) Email? Text? A notification? Whatever it is, you’ve been notified!! So that means when I send an email or text, unless you find yourself in Bermuda-wifi Triangle, any delay in response must be owned to time-management of sorts. Essentially, the recipient goes through a process at lightning speed, and delegates your importance cross-checked against all other notifications and whatever (if ever) s/he is doing at the moment. It essentially tells you how important you are to that person, or at least how important they conceive themselves to be in deference to you. Some of us will only occupy enough importance to keep one “company” sitting on the can, waiting for their dental appointment, or in temporary partner-absentia (as when they’ve gone to the can…hahahaha). Others aren’t so lucky, and find themselves lost in cyberspace or lockdown! I’d laugh if it weren’t so tragic!

Somehow I’ve never felt empowered by making people wait. I relish not casting others into the land of oblivion. Lapses are suspended moments occupied by silence, the gravity of which are as palpable (often more) an experience of derision as the most caustic of words (it is actually a very distinct kind of derision). I’m not suggesting that all communications are created equal – I’d hope my family and lover would as a rule be motivated to get to me first – but that’s just the point, right? Immediacy suggests care: it says, you matter to me. It says you matter. I’m not oblivious to these plays – not by a long shot – but I don’t care enough to permit it to define my level of engagement. Who the hell decided these damn protocols anyway? 3 days not 2 or 1 day? WTF??!! I don’t feel more enticed by rejected; only bored and literally dis-engaged…so, ya….BORED!

Stranger, newbie, student, acquaintance, colleague, inquisitor? They all get a response from me! And all with equal care (time-permitting, of course) and consideration of their existential import. So yes, text me and I will as a rule respond as immediately as life circumstances permit. Clearly such scenarios are ever more comically and disturbingly realized amongst those with whom you share intimate historical ties – ach, existential anomie overwhelms…until boredom sets in! Until then I remain deliriously amused!

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