The world around us has changed so much since the 1950s when newspapers were the main stream of information handed out to the public and radio was still in its infancy. We live in a world dominated by news that runs on a minute-by-minute cycle. The world has taken the notion of communication and turned it into a barrage of data. You may think this has had a trickle down effect, that people have become generally open about their information, and are willing to share it freely. But as we’ve seen with the recent Facebook scandal among other large companies and private information concerns we actually prefer our information to be private. With the advent of technologies like Blockchain as well as the infinite data feed of social media it appears to me that people are actually becoming active controllers of their public vs private information. This may sound good, I mean people should be actively involved in what they do. But, I think it’s actually having an adverse effect. I think people have started to act more like celebrities and royalty about their information, and thats within even their closest groups, which can have a detrimental effect on society as a whole.
People proclaim the amazingness of blockchain technology and there are those who believe it could dramatically change how we handle financial actions, as it could lead to prevention of corrupt government officials as well as open data about private corporation transactions. These ideas sound wonderful until they’re applied on the personal level. Yes, a person can privately buy a sex doll online now, but that transaction can still be traced to an ID which you possess. You are no longer buying something that only you and your credit card company know about, but your ‘anonymous’ wallet has now made purchases which any number of participants in the blockchain can know about. Is that the privacy we’re looking for? Is that the communication transparency we desire?
What about in the trickle down notion, that open data, and social media profiles are generally allowing people to be more open in their communication? In my experience, in the internet’s early days when profiles were more anonymous (look at Reddit as an example) people would be more open about their feelings and in many cases just belligerently anger other people (trolls…). But in a world where your identity is connected to everything you type, you’re far more mindful of what you post, and all too often people will curtail their opinions to match those of the masses. Retracted comments in initial tweets, public apologies for inappropriate comments in social media. Those these things feel like more open communication every public attack creates a reason for someone to keep a secret. Though we’re all for open communication, its only allowed to be open if the whole community agrees with it.
So what about the individual? What about those people you work with or are close to? Transforming large communication systems begins by building strong ones that are closest to you. Creating open dialog with a friend where judgement is set aside is crucial for long term friendships and relationships. If the world is demanding that our governments, and private corporations be more open about their information we need to attack them less for the mistakes they make, and their choices we disagree with. It is in our nature to be protective of ourselves and our internal thoughts, it is a matter of survival, if you anger the pack you will be cast out. Companies, and governments do this just as much as the individual. If we want to change this we need to be less concerned with open information and be more focused on understanding, sympathy and empathy about the information being shared.