14 September 2010

Cellphones, social networks make eavesdropping OK?

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Oversharing
Not only are many unconcerned about strangers overhearing cellphone calls, we purposely broadcast our personal business on Facebook and Twitter. Sharon Jayson reports on the implications in USA Today.

“A century ago, when the first home phones were “party lines” shared by neighbors, “worrying you were being listened in on was a common feature of American culture,” says sociologist Claude Fischer of the University of California-Berkeley.

Oh, how times have changed.

Now, we’re not only unconcerned about overheard phone calls, we purposely broadcast our personal business to large groups of “friends” and “followers” on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

As a result, we’re fast becoming a nation of casual eavesdroppers, where every day we tune in to a constant stream of updates on what others are saying and doing, from where they’re about to eat lunch (complete with photos) to their conversations with others.

All this sharing, some experts say, may be feeding a tendency toward exhibitionism, and devaluing the very privacy that earlier generations so desired.

But not everyone says the rise of widespread social snooping is such a bad thing.”

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