Now the police dreams that one look at the gigantic map on the office wall should suffice at any given moment to establish who is related to whom and in what degree of intimacy; and, theoretically, this dream is not unrealizable although its technical execution is bound to be somewhat difficult. If this map really did exist, not even memory would stand in the way of the totalitarian claim to domination; such a map might make it possible to obliterate people without any traces, as if they had never existed at all."The Origins of Totalitarianism"
Millions of people have been longing for years for a chance to let certain perpetrators of jazz and alleged humor, and likewise a crooner or two know how 'rotten' their stuff is. And multitudes of fingers long have been itching to get at certain raucous-voiced ballyhooists, if not in one way then in another. Handy buttons as a part of the standard equipment of receiving sets should put many a counterfeit statesmen and professional hot air artist in his place; and, of course, they should be equally valuable as registers of sober, thoughtful public opinion. Will the public care for that sort of thing? Will they bother to use Dr. Hopkins' device if they get a chance, do you ask? Don't you like to tell 'em where to head in and get off?
A tiny electrical gadget, called the Radiovoter, may speed the time when a president of the United States may step before a microphone, ask a question of his radio listeners concerning some question of public policy and receive an immediate reply from millions. The question may be: "Do you want war?" or: "Shall we build more battleships?" Or: "Do you favor a larger appropriation for relief?" Whatever the question, every listener by means of the Radiovoter on the receiving set could flash an answer back.
If you find any intel on Anarchists or Occupy Protesters please let me know – I will most likely find it first as Social Media trolling is not what the WSP does best,” Kolerich says. “Bank of America has a team of 20 people and that’s all they do all day and then pass it to us around the country!!
Where once corporations could impose their advertisements on us through television, we now have PVR which can block TV ads. Where once corporations could impose their advertisements on us through websites, we now have browser plugins that can block those ads. It would almost seem as if we have the power to determine how much content we are fed by corporations and how much content we genuinely want to pay attention to.
Except we don't, because it's still accepted that when a corporation creates an advertisement that does something 'neat' or 'cool', it gets reproduced and transmitted through various mediums without any critical appraisal, just because it's different and original. Corporations know this; they know that they have to go above and beyond merely putting a billboard on a highway to attract eyeballs. They know that it's not enough to beat their rivals at pure visibility. They know that they have do something 'different', something 'cool', something 'unique', something 'neat', something that will make it through to those eyeballs and minds that have become desensitized to all those tired, traditional means of advertising.
The companies that create these advertisement (not companies like British Airways, but the PR and marketing companies that they hire), are acutely aware of the fact that the number of people that will look at these kinds of billboards are no higher than the number of people that will look at any other similarly aesthetically pleasing (given contemporary style and taste) billboards. But they do know that if they offer something else, something that piques a viewer's curiosity, a viewer's sense of inquisitiveness or fascination with technology, or a viewer's eye for novelty and originality, then those people will spread the word. They will tell others about this cool and unique and original advertisement. They might not go right up to their friends and say: "Did you see that cool new British Airways advertisement?" because they might be just the kind of person who wouldn't spread the gospel of corporations so directly, but they very well might be the kind of person who would post to a social media site that has millions of anonymous viewers.
We have a responsibility, we know. That’s how Berlin became the freest city that I go to because we know, because we have a responsibility, because we remember, because we have been on both sides of the wall. That must not be lost now. If we forget, no other forgetting will ever happen. Everything will be remembered. Everything you read, all through life, everything you listened to, everything you watched, everything you searched for.
Surely we can pass along to the next generation a world freer than that. Surely we must. What if we don’t?
What will they say when they realize that we lived at the end of a thousand years of struggling for freedom of thought. At the end, when we had almost everything, we gave it away, for convenience, for social networking. Because Mr. Zuckerberg asked us to. Because we couldn’t find a better way to talk to our friends. Because we loved the beautiful pretty things that felt so warm in the hand. Because we didn’t really care about the future of freedom of thought, because we considered that to be someone else’s business. Because we thought it was over. Because we believed we were free. Because we didn’t think there was any struggling left to do. That’s why we gave it all away.
Is that what we're gonna tell them?
Free thought requires free media. Free media requires free technology. We require ethical treatment when we go to read, to write, to listen and to watch. Those are the hallmarks of our politics. We need to keep those politics until we die. Because if we don’t, something else will die. Something so precious that many, many of our fathers and mothers gave their life for it. Something so precious, that we understood it to define what it meant to be human; it will die.
Social networks exist to sell you crap. The icky feeling you get when your friend starts to talk to you about Amway, or when you spot someone passing out business cards at a birthday party, is the entire driving force behind a site like Facebook.
Because their collection methods are kind of primitive, these sites have to coax you into doing as much of your social interaction as possible while logged in, so they can see it. It's as if an ad agency built a nationwide chain of pubs and night clubs in the hopes that people would spend all their time there, rigging the place with microphones and cameras to keep abreast of the latest trends (and staffing it, of course, with that Mormon bartender).
We're used to talking about how disturbing this in the context of privacy, but it's worth pointing out how weirdly unsocial it is, too. How are you supposed to feel at home when you know a place is full of one-way mirrors?
We have a name for the kind of person who collects a detailed, permanent dossier on everyone they interact with, with the intent of using it to manipulate others for personal advantage - we call that person a sociopath. And both Google and Facebook have gone deep into stalker territory with their attempts to track our every action.