As someone who spent the better part of twenty working years closely involved with Xerox and it’s products, there is a quotation by Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian philosopher and communication theorist, that has a particular resonance. McLuhan said: “Whereas Caxton and Gutenberg enabled all men to become readers, Xerox has enabled all men to become publishers.” I wonder how he would have extended that idea now that the Internet with Forums, Blogging, Facebook, Twitter etc have enabled all men to become published authors.
McLuhan also foresaw the Internet in many ways when he coined the phrase “Global Village” He used this expression in the early sixties, some twenty years before the first PC and thirty years before the first Internet browser appeared. Whilst trying to confirm the correct form of the quote above, I came across this article or essay written in Time magazine in 1976 about the effect of Xerox machines. How easy it would be to substitute Internet now for Xerox then.
Returning to the concept of everyone becoming a publisher, just how much information is safe to place online? Many bloggers seem happy to post no end of personal information online whereas others , whilst prolific in every other way, evidently work hard at editing out anything that will reveal their actual identity.
I am still undecided about this and so my “about” page on this blog remains a work in progress ( the ultimate web design sin – Under Construction !! ) What, I wonder, could be gleaned from my postings so far? I may conduct a short review and post my findings on the “about” page from the perspective of an anonymous third party.
Everyday we read that careless posting of personal information that can lead to your financial or even personal safety being compromised. I am not sure that this is such a threat if you use some common sense. The problem for any hackers and snoopers now is simply the volume of material on the web. If they really want to find out useful stuff there are plenty of places to look before they start a forensic examination of a personal blog. I am not about to post my address, phone number, mothers maiden name, bank sort code or anything similar on here and let me assure you that you could never get any clues about my passwords from what I post . ( Translate last sentence as appropriate into Romanian, Bulgarian, Russian and any number of other languages )
In a past corporate life, my immediate line manager would ignore members of his sales team whenever we passed. ” Morning John….” Nothing. Eventually we decided that he was not being ignorant, he had simply decided that by not speaking to anyone , he could safely avoid causing offence. Life is like that, every action has a consequence. Even if you think that you are not taking any action.