Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If A Tree Falls in the Forest ...

The newest update to Foursquare is called Radar, and it takes the FS app to its logical next step: a program that alerts you when friends are checked in nearby, and suggests places for you to check into that are in close proximity. The linked article goes through the details, and points out the obvious awkward/stalker vibes emanating from this latest collision of technology and social media.

While the average person's response will undoubtedly be revulsion, I find it inevitable and entertaining. I suppose ignorance is bliss, so that as long as your friends are cavorting behind your back, social norms are preserved and no one's ego is slighted. In our new Foursquare Radar era, there is the potential to be acutely aware of every hang out to which you are not invited to participate. And that's the real crux of the situation- not that you haven't been invited, because no one socializes with all their friends all of the time, but the knowledge of the missed moment, that's it's no longer being done behind your back.

But then there have always been two types of people in our new social media, hyper-connectedness age. The ones who revel in thrusting every detail of ordinary life onto the internet for all who are interested to gawk at, and those who find it all appalling. I happen to fall into the former category, and am generally forgiving of flaws in privacy protection in favor of the opinion that my anonymity protects from identity theft. If someone really wanted to steal my identity, nothing I could do would really be effective in stopping them. And who is that interested in my life anyway?

Blogging, Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter are all just self-indulgent guilty pleasures. They play as much of a role in keeping people connected as they do in making our lives seem more important than they are, and thereby making humanity happier.

And really, what's wrong with that? In my head, my legions of dedicated followers read every post I write, and marvel at my literary acumen. Reality is, afterall, perception.

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