Imagine pitching the idea of social media in the 1950s. How would you describe it to the baby boomer generation without illustrating a big brother like dystopia? I desperately wanted to experience this conversation, so I hopped in a time machine to the year 1953. Disguised as a disc jockey, I interviewed a clinical worker, Margret Jenkins, about an upcoming invention called social media. Here is our conversation:
Tre Clayton: Recording live from the Big Apple, this is 92.9 AM Radiooo! Non other then the boogie woogie man, Tre Daddy Doom. I am here with Margret Jenkins; with whom I will discuss Eisenhower Industries’ upcoming invention. How are you this bright morning Margret?
Margret Jenkins: All is well. Thank you for inviting me on the show.
Tre Daddy Doom: As you are aware, we are here to discuss a new invention from the main man Eisenhower
Tre Daddy Doom: Margret he is attempting to create a platform in which people can electronically interact and communicate
Margret: Like a telephone?
Tre Daddy Doom: No No, imagine a virtual reality in which an electronic representation of yourself is present
Tre Daddy Doom : You are able to change your electronic profile on a television set through different series of photographs, motion pictures, and messages
Margret: uhhh, you lost me there Doom
Tre Daddy Doom: What is your Mister’s name?
Margret: Sir Daniel Jenkins
Tre Daddy Doom: in this platform Margret, Sir Daniel Jenkins will have a profile or resume that has a collection of posts, photographs and motion pictures of whatever he desires. Think of it as a public bulletin, which is view-able from a T.V. Screen
Tre Daddy Doom: Can you dig it?
Margret: Still a little lost, but it sounds like a kind of picture/movie representation of myself, but just in format of a television show?
Tre Daddy Doom: Bingo! A show, about yourself, that you constantly update for your viewers
Margret: What is the point of that?
Tre Daddy Doom: Eisenhower believes EVERYONE will eventually have these personalized television shows. Meaning you will be able to view people’s shows all across the world!
Margret: Even in the old World?
Tre Daddy Doom: From the Great Wall to the Golden Coast
Margret: I don’t want my life available all across the world, let alone the Chine..
Tre Daddy Doom: No no, but what about all your friends and family across the big blue, huh?
Margret: Yeah, ok maybe. But what happens if others can view all my information?
Tre Daddy Doom: You can set your profile to a private setting, so that only people who you want to view your show can view it.
Margret: Only them, nobody else?
Tre Daddy Doom: Well… there is a catch. The government and other third parties like GM, Chrysler, U.S. Steel Standard Oil of New Jersey, Amoco, Goodyear and Firestone can also view your profile despite the privacy setting
Margret: That’s totally not fair. Why would I ever create this profile?
Tre Daddy Doom: Eisenhower believes that this profile will become the standard form of human interaction. That everyone will create these profiles and will be able to hold relationships past the bounds of distance and time. Everyone will be able to share information about their lives with one another, thus creating a pool of information readily available too the world, about the world
Margret: Understandable, but I do not feel comfortable with my information “readily available” to anyone but myself. And wouldn’t this require a constant need to update your profile/representation. In order for the world to be accurately informed, everyone would need to constantly update their shows
Tre Daddy Doom: Yes, that’s true
Margret: What if people posted pictures of themselves, that were old or of another person?
Tre Daddy Doom: Mankind wouldn’t stoop that low
Tre Daddy Doom: Well, they cou…
Margret: And what if I put up a photograph or message that I enjoyed at the time, but regretted in the future? Other people could retain that image somehow
Margret: And I have many different friends from different races, economic and religious backgrounds. What if some of my photographs or bulletin posts angered or humiliated them?
Tre Daddy Doom: Margr..
Margret: What if someone else posted a picture or message of me on that was embarrassing or revealing? Would I forever be criticized by people from other shows?
Margret: and why does the government need to..
Tre Daddy Doom: That’s all the time we have folks! Join us next time on the Doom Dog Show!
After my trip to the fiftees, I realized that many of these circumstances that Margret mentioned have come true. Governments have created backdoors in which they can view our private social media accounts. People constantly update their profile in order to maintain a certain image that they want portrayed of themselves. And unfortunately, some people are highly humiliated, criticized and manipulated because of
content that is posted by themselves or others, which in rare scenarios lead to suicide.
Although it is widely accepted and used by nearly a billion people, social media is covertly corrupted and overtly shaping society into an Orwellian nightmare.
The Importance Of Keeping Your Social Media Profiles Active, By Lenka Istvanova, Koozai.com, May 15, 2014, https://www.koozai.com/blog/search-marketing/important-business-keep-social-media-profiles-active/
Obama Wants Tech Companies to Install Backdoors for Government Spying, By Will Oremus, Slate.com, January 19, 2015 http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2015/01/19/obama_wants_backdoors_in_encrypted_messaging_to_allow_government_spying.html
1984, By George Orwell, Penguin Books, June 18, 1948
The Story of Amanda Todd, By Michelle Dean, The Newyorker, October 18, 2012, http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-story-of-amanda-todd
What is Cyberbulling, By Stopbullying.com Editors, Stopbullying.com, December 23, 2015, http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/