Monday, October 24, 2011

For Safety's Sake #6: Was that you I saw ... ?

We’re all trying very hard to keep up with the times and sustain our livelihood in these difficult days.

Technology is moving far faster than my social practices, at least, can adapt.

I’d like to quote from a recent article by Walter Kirn in the New York Times.

“In George Orwell’s 1984, the great mistake was to emphasize the villainy of society’s masters while playing down the mischief of the masses. As the internet proves every day, it isn’t the stern and monolithic Big Brother that we have to reckon with as we go about our daily lives, it’s a vast cohort of prankish Little Brothers equipped with devices Orwell never dreamed of and who are loyal to no organized authority. The invasion of privacy, of other’s privacy but also our own, as we turn our lenses on ourselves in the quest for attention by any means has been democratized…Information flows in all directions and does as it pleases, serving no master.”

Social and business networking has certainly changed in the last few years.

What used to take place among four or five people at a wine and cheese get-together is now seen instantly by hundreds, thousands before we can wipe the chardonnay off our chins or take back that unfortunate remark about the “buyer from Hell” we’re working with.

The worst thing is: We’re doing it to ourselves and with little or no thought of the consequences, it seems.

How are these new, instantaneous technologies affecting the way we do business?

Do you have separate accounts for business and personal use? Many of you don’t.

I see your kids’ soccer game scores, complete with photos of the young athletes, right above your showing schedule. What are you telling people? Do you honestly believe that everyone who follows you on Twitter or Facebook wishes you well? Is there no one who might make note that your Mercedes was just ransomed out of the shop so that now you can show those properties on Saturday afternoon?

How do you decide whom to “friend”? Who do those “friends” re-post your glad tidings to?

It is a dangerous development and one that is just beginning to be evaluated. In my information systems classes in grad school one of the first things I learned was that any new technology will be adopted first by the criminal element and put to use.

A lot of young people, especially, have absolutely no idea of the potential consequences of putting their lives out there for everyone to see.

I heard a comment over dinner in Atlanta recently that soon blackmail will be a thing of the past, the speaker said, because we will have divulged everything about ourselves online for the world to see.

Things are moving fast. Take time to think before you post. Be careful!

Submitted by Mary Kuykendall. Mary is a REALTOR in Bangor and the Greater Bangor Association's 2011 REALTOR of the Year