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January 23, 2014


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David Bunce

On the personal/public distinction, it's also interesting to ask how much longer this distinction will carry cultural weight.

It's a distinction I still find very useful, but it's also one which I would say is less-and-less followed (or even recognised/perceived) by many in my age group. Though interestingly, I found it to be a much stronger distinction in German speaking countries.

Perhaps the longer term trend will be for the distinction to disappear entirely, as technological change remaps the boundaries of our social interactions. That could well be one reason why the NSA/GCHQ stories fail to gain much traction - in a world where the distinction between personal and private is fuzzy or non-existent, it becomes a lot less problematic if mass harvesting of data occurs.

I've been thinking a lot about the distinction recently, particularly seeing a lot of parent bloggers/photos/tweeters going around, again from people in my age group. I found myself feeling quite uncomfortable at the trend and I think I'm uncomfortable at the parents' choice to give away a child's private life without their consent by posting embarrassing stories/photos on the internet - often even during pregnancy. It seems to be a huge presumption on the part of the parent that the child will be OK with it in the future. That's not to say this is a well thought through reaction, but it's definitely my gut feeling at the moment!

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