If you are prone to paranoia I’d suggest you stop reading. Right now. Don your tin foil hat and run for the hills. Because the media is coming, and it knows everything about you.
The media is becoming more intertwined in our society with each passing day. For some time now the media has been a two-way street. We consume a mightily impressive amount of content but are simultaneously producing it. And all the while we are being watched. Take media ownership for example. The content we upload is all being recorded by someone. Most people don’t think twice about who owns the papers they read, the shows they watch. It gets a bit more concerning when you don’t consider who owns what you create and post online. All the content you’ve posted on Facebook? Your photos, video, posts, all your personal details – are under a non-exclusive license for Facebook. Those pesky advertisements that can appear in your news feed? Tailored from the information collected. My mother was particularly annoyed by this. After assessing all her personal data (age, sex, marital status and posts) Facebook decided she would most benefit from anti-cellulite and weight-loss ads. Very brave of them to suggest that. Here’s a great example of how the ads target individuals.
But at least in our increasingly connected world we can be certain that our offline activities remain private.
Whatever you do in a public space is now potentially globally accessible. The proliferation of CCTV cameras and devices with video recording (e.g. your iPhone) mean that there’s likely video footage of you that you don’t know about. In ten years will there be any difference between the public sphere and the mediated public sphere? The upcoming release of ‘Google Glass’ will close the gap between public and mediated spheres further still. Essentially a pair of lightweight glasses, the device can send messages, photograph and video record all whilst internet connected. Walking down a street you could be surreptitiously recorded without ever knowing, then have that video uploaded instantly (Hurst, 2013 – read his blog here). “All the world’s a stage…” said Shakespeare. He may have been more right than he knew.
Surveillance is a constant in our current understanding of media practices. As new technologies develop, the influence of surveillance will only increase.
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