Big Brother is Watching

When I realized that my whole life and personality could be pieced together from the many online social communities, online banks, online merchants and online bill payment facilities that I participate in, it kind of scared me.
Recently a website sent me a composite of who they thought I was and asked me if I would like to own and promote this profile (for a fee, of course). They had combed through umpteen websites that had information associated with my name and sewn together a pretty good likeness of who I was. Now, there were some tit bits that were wrong (which was also scary) but for the most part – they had me pegged. And I hadn’t even given them permission to gather any of this information in the first place.
To compound things, in this faltering economy which is rife for consolidation among like•minded business, what would happen if many of these online operators merge? My profile would crystallize even more, without my ability to stop it.
So what is the answer? Provide false information? I could sign up as a female, 21, with an address in Nevada, working as a topless dancer. Pictures could be captured off the Net of a sweaty panting woman wrapped around a pole adorned in a G•string and dollar notes, surrounded by gawking men, and posted on my profile page. I could also list interests such as reading and writing literary fiction, working as a management consultant when I am not dancing topless, having children aged 28 and 23, and writing blogs revealing the ills of Canadian society, a country I have never visited because I live in Nevada, remember. I could create a severe identity crisis for these trolling online profilers who try to fit me into a demographic box. And then what will the world think of me – as some weird schizophrenic mutation? No one would want to do business with me or read my books, because they could not identify with me. That would be no good either.
Or I could retire into the wilderness, with a shotgun and a dog, with no telephone or Internet and be forgotten by humanity. My writings in the wild will be published posthumously and be dismissed as the prattling of a madman out of touch with the rest of world. Or might I gain cult status like other reclusive writers? But they were famous before they went into seclusion, so no luck there either, old boy!
I think I have no option but to carry on under the watchful eye of Big Brother, whoever he is, re•affirmed by the belief that in this media crazed world, it is better to be a known than an unknown. And I have to accept the fact that the Orwellian vision of 1984 is rapidly taking shape in the free world.

3 thoughts on “Big Brother is Watching”

  1. This is a test comment and the first time I am opening up comments for the general public. Please feel free to post comments on my blog regarding this article or all previous or future posts

  2. Definitely know what you mean. I was thinking along those same lines today when a friend invited me to join two more networks – LinkedIn and WindowsLive. The “Wired World” is getting a bit scary. As writers we have to take advantage of this connectedness but it leaves a niggling concern in my mind every time I take another step into the virtual world.

    Michael

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