Posted by: ellenpayne2012 | October 1, 2012

Is there such a thing as TMI?

I find the decentralization, personalization and interactivity of the internet powerful. I recently sent a link to a friend of a blogging community for those who hate cilantro. She is a loud and vocal hater of cilantro. Who would have thought there were others out there and they were so organized? This same friend adopted a toddler from Kyrgyzstan and traveled twice to Bishkek to see her little girl in the orphanage. Through her blog she was able to educate her family and friends about her daughter’s background and also keep in touch with other parents in the same adoption program who were waiting for their paperwork to settle. She also blogged during her trips to keep everyone apprised of what she was learning at the site visits. It was through some critical pieces of information that these parents shared with each other that she was able to learn that the “rules” of the country were changing regarding adoptions which she needed to put pressure on the agency to finalize. It turned out well but it was a close call. Some families never got their children before the country closed adoptions down.

I find my internet searches are many times about real or imagined ailments that bring up a host of information from the Mayo Clinic to a doctor’s site Great Britain. If I do talk to my own doctor, it’s about half the time that they might agree with my “self-diagnosis” — a reminder to consider the source. But the fact that I can get information in seconds on everything from Bishkek to cilantro to headaches, even if some of it is amateur generated and ill-informed, is I believe a step forward, if read with a critical eye. It’s at least as reliable as talking to a friend and a darn sight easier than looking things up in the World Book Encyclopedia.

QUESTION: As we become more and more “producers” of our own lives: Tweeting, Facebooking, Blogging, responding to and sharing articles and videos, “liking” organizations and political groups, promoting  favorite causes: How much is too much? Are we sharing too much of ourselves? What is gained and what is lost? And as internet surveillance tools get more and more sophisticated, has the horse left the barn on our privacy?

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