What About This…? 5.7.2015

By Wayne William Cipriano

Because we are so eager to make known our positions and opinions, and so very disinterested in what others have to say, many of us rely on email and other similar messaging systems that did not exist only a few years ago to save us the time and inconvenience of actual conversation. But this bulwark against boredom comes at a price.

When we wrote letters to one another they were necessarily out of our hands and were neither easily controlled nor protected. We took care to memorialize only that which we understood might be widely circulated.

When we called each other on the telephone such communications were easily intercepted and recorded and so privacy laws were enacted to limit the spread of information we intended to keep private. And because of this protection some of us have become relaxed in our sensitivity to privacy violation.

With these electronic messages that travel on the internet, waiting in the ether to be called up by the addressee, the longevity of such information is eternal and its unlimited availability requires only the computer adeptness of the average 15-year-old.

So, to insure others listen to us without us having to listen to them, we must face the realization that on the internet all these essentially one-way communications never, ever, completely disappear. Younger people do not seem to be overly concerned by this lack of privacy – often seeming to revel in it. Those of us who are older understand how even the most appropriate messages in one time or context may become embarrassing or even threatening when the milieu in which we are operating dissolves.

Perhaps that is why we who are enjoying some vintage are more attentive to the immortality of our messages – or at least we should be. Wouldn’t you agree, Mrs. Clinton?