February 7, 2012


Once in a while, I get a request from someone on Facebook asking me to click one button or another to protect their internet privacy. I don’t put much faith in these strategies and have stopped complying with these requests. Interaction on the web means going public. As Lars Nelson of the “New York Daily News” rightfully described it, the Internet is “a vanity press for the demented.” (“How dishing got dirty,” Joseph Epstein, “The Week,” 1/20/12) 

Some people seem to enjoy living their lives in a fish bowl. As I roam the Internet searching for photographs for my blogs, I come across some amazing sights. An innocent search for pictures of “people talking,” can turn up images that display an amazing degree of “whiskey courage.”  

(courtesy: superstock.com)

Gossip in one form or another has been around longer than back yard fences. We humans seem to take a great interest in the lives of others. Unfortunately, the Internet has created the world’s longest back yard fence where any number of people can meet. This nexus attracts hackers and entrepreneurs alike. Google plans to exploit our behavior, for example, by tracking us not only through social networks but wherever we go on the web, data of interest to eager advertisers. (“Google: Has it joined the Dark Side?” “This Week,” 2/10/12)

Individuals who are passionate about their privacy should stay off the Internet.  Otherwise, we must all accept the irreconcilable differences between broadening our connections and keeping the world out. As the writer Molly Haskell wisely observed, the World Wide Web is “democracy’s revenge on democracy.” (“This Week,” 1/20/12)