“George Orwell imagined a world where Big Brother was watching us, but we instead with little cellphone cameras are watching Big Brother every moment of the day.”
We are in a world where there are CCTV cameras on every corner and video surveillance in every room. Here the media’s prevalence is key and its power is exerted in ways that constantly challenge traditional ideas of privacy. In this lifetime our lives are public, we no longer have the luxury of privacy in our own home unless a concerted effort is maintained for it to remain so. All that once would have been private is now so easily laid bare in front of the globe. Our conversations are recorded and our photos are owned by the powers above with just one uninformed check of a terms and conditions box. We have become the society that never sleeps without someone knowing we are.
Our ideas of privacy and ethical conduct are constantly under scrutiny, outdated and updated. We live such public lives. We post our opinions quite freely online, upload profile photos and tag our locations. Big Brother is a reality. He can always see.
But the window through which he gazes isn’t false sided anymore.
We are now looking back at him.
Society is staring back into those mechanical eyes and telling the globe what they see beyond them. The media platforms and technologies of today allow us to keep up-to-date globally and instantly with each other, but also to keep an up-to-date knowledge of a current affairs.
Just think of wikileaks and the impact it has had with the Afghan War Diary and Iran War Logs. Twitter was seen to play a role in Libya and other recent uprisings. It is now possible for freedom fighters and the politically oppressed to get their message out from underneath stringent rule. The openness of our lives are seen through the hyperbole of celebrities, as we follow their every move though social media networks, have access to photos though print sources and can view videos of their private lives online. Even Kony2012, the current internet sensation, is solely about exploiting the existing media platforms to reveal what was once private or secret information. It is about giving a voice to those silenced and showing the face of faceless power. Of course all these platforms and their growing popularity throw into contention serious questions about the possible gullibility of society and the potential to unreasonably exploit that.
But the fact remains –
The media and technology may be making our lives less private, but it is also publicizing all levels of our society, including (and perhaps especially) those in power, be it political, religious or cultural power.
Big Brother isn’t just looking at us through a telescreen anymore –
We have him on Skype!