The fame generation needs to learn the value of privacy

by Marina HydeWith Britain home to four million blogs, the inner monologue is in peril. But when everything is made public, something is lost‘Do you really keep a diary?” a besotted Algernon asks of Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest. “I’d give anything to look at it. May I?” “Oh no,” replies Cecily with princessy disdain. “You see, it is simply a very young girl’s record of her own thoughts and impressions, and consequently meant for publication. When it appears in volume form, I hope you will order a copy.”Wilde’s jokes are so faultlessly crafted that they tend to retain their bite even a hundred years later, but the latter does lose something of its surreal edge when considered against the news that today there are four million bloggers at work in the UK alone. Four million! It feels like the magic number at which the inner monologue could be officially classified as endangered.These days, if it’s in our heads, out it comes, edited to varying degrees into words and pictures, and presented to a real or imagined audience. Self-important? Perhaps. Often tedious? Certainly. But that doesn’t matter as much as people make out. Even if there weren’t the vaguest of ironies in newspaper columnists wondering why people feel the need to share their views on life with anyone, it does seem time to move beyond the sneering accusations of Pooterism that traditionally form the basis of mainstream media attacks on self-published alternatives. If all we had to worry about in this brave new world was preposterous self-regard comingled with a comic lack of self-awareness, then it might be an idyll indeed.Far more intriguing, and progressively alarming, is the degree to which we have embraced the new exhibitionism. An early term for bloggers – back when it was a frightfully niche pursuit and the internet was all fields and so on – was “escribitionists”, and though the word was never what you’d call common parlance, what it stood for has become common practice as personal sites and social networking communities have exploded.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2208777,00.html

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