November 16, 2009

An era of total transparency

60s-love
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With the new platforms of openness, all you need is social love

Ayelet NoffThese days we’re living a historian’s wet dream. We are consistently recording history through all our social tools. Our actions, feelings, thoughts, our everything, constantly being recorded. From where we are eating to what we are annoyed about to what it is that makes us tick. Not only are we recording the “big” things but we are recording everything. It’s history without hiccups.

Ben Parr wrote an excellent post on Mashable on the topic. Parr: ” For the first time in human history, the day-to-day interactions between people are being permanently recorded and formatted in easily organizable segments of information.”

Millions of us are publicly recording our daily activities on our Twitter feeds for the world to know for the rest of time. All details are recorded from who we were with and what we were doing to when and where. Historians in the future will not need to guess any details. They’ll have all the information right in front of them.They’ll actually probably know more than they care to know. With pictures on Flickr and videos on YouTube and text on Twitter and links on Facebook and, to top it all off, personal blogs, historians will have much the info they need about our interactions with one another.

I can already see future museums displaying this era as an era of communications galore when millions of us were about transparency and openness — our digital version of the ’60. Free social love for all. We cannot share enough of our daily doings with one another and we cannot hear enough. We long for the feedback from our surroundings and the immortality of our souls by recording everything we do. We feed on the interactions around us.

It’s no coincidence that reality TV is one of today’s most popular TV genres. People like to watch other people’s lives. For the same reason, social tools are also so popular — people like to see what others are doing and interact with them while they’re doing it. People are looking for ways to connect more with one another no matter what geographical location they’re at. In what other age was it so easy to interact with someone two continents away from you?

We are learning more about each other’s cultures and actions, relating more to one another. Perhaps there’s a chance for us to get along with each other?

I cannot write such a post, of course, without mentioning the story of how the U.S. State Department reached out to Twitter and asked them to delay a network upgrade that was scheduled in order to allow Iranians using the service to protest the presidential election that took place on June 12. Twitter moved the upgrade to a later time. Lev Grossman in Time.com writes: “Twitter didn’t start the protests in Iran, nor did it make them possible. But there’s no question that it has emboldened the protesters, reinforced their conviction that they are not alone and engaged populations outside Iran in an emotional, immediate way that was never possible before.”

There’s no question that social tools are changing the face of history. The real question is: Are we fully ready for the change and its future consequences? Are we ready for an era of total transparency?Ayelet Noff is a partner in Socialmedia.biz and founder and Co-CEO of Blonde 2.0, an award winning digital PR agency with branches in Boston and Tel Aviv. Contact Ayelet via The Blonde 2.0 website , email, or follow her on Twitter and Google Plus.

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  • Excellent article, very well written and thoughtful. I don't know about the world at large, but I know I am not personally ready for COMPLETE transparency, I still belong to the camp that believes some of one's private life should remain exactly that, private. I appreciate the ability to connect with like minded individuals around the globe through social networks, but on my terms. Thanks for the great post!