I recently came across this article by New York Times columnist Jon Pereles which is astonishingly similar to my blog post from last week.
Pereles argues that the internet age has virtually eliminated privacy and anonymity within our culture. This is particularly the case for celebrities, who now have their every move documented on a minute-by-minute basis thanks to online tabloids but it also applies to the public at large, who choose to put their images out into cyberspace with websites such as facebook and youtube.
The aspect of choice is what makes this phenomenon so interesting. Ours has become a culture of over-exposure but this lack of privacy is not due to any Big Brother type dictatorship. Instead, we are uploading these images and videos onto the internet ourselves and using our online profiles to constantly update and promote our thoughts and feelings to the world.
All of this reminded me of another New York Times article I had read a few months back. In it, the author, Penelope Green, reported on a new school of architects who likened modern city life to a public performance of sort, punctuated by glass-walled condo buildings which display their inhabitants to passer-bys on the street.
I thought that cities were supposed to be where you go if you crave anonymity, the antithesis to small towns where people lean over their fences to chat with their neighbors about what’s new in their lives.
Perhaps we have all just grown weary of a world that has become too big and too impersonal.
Maybe now we just want to lean over one another’s laptop screens and tell our neighbors what we’ve been up to lately.