Updated: Jul 11, 2020
“SSSHHHHHH CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? PRIVACY IS THE NEW LUXURY” There was a point in human history where only the very few and elite had a “public life”. Positions of either government or some sort of celebrity and authority. Merit normally brought fame, until that changed and celebrity brought fame, and with it fame became more potent and popular.
Politicians, rulers, generals, popes and captains of industry were famous and wealthy, but the fame we assigned to movie and sport stars was far more attractive to the mainstream population.
In fact it is said that soldiers in the second world war knew the currency of fame. American soldiers apparently would yell out “Fuck Hirohito!” and the Japanese military would yell out “Fuck Babe Ruth!”.
Such was the changing value of fame. Step changes in technology have always brought fame closer to ubiquity. Silent movies, to “movies” to TV, with each tech revolution fame grew in size and addictiveness. The relationship between fame and technology is a binary one. In fact who serves who in that relationship almost gets very chicken and egg like. Suffice to say they both serve each other equally. Zuckerberg is an easy and obvious example.
Reputation has always been carefully curated by those in the public eye but maybe they didn’t use that word. At best “management” or PR or good old fashioned propaganda. But now its a little more complex. Being in the public eye always brought with it “un-curated” or “uncontrolled” attention.
Pesky journalists, whistleblowers and the like discovering secrets and leaking information that others would rather leave in the dark as it may have a deleterious effect on “image and reputation” of the famous person in question. All pretty ho hum. This saw the rise of the manager, pr exec, press flack and image consultant carefully trying, sometimes in vain to “control” the message and image of their client.
Professional advice sometimes well worth the vast sums of money paid to such people. However the Facebook generation received by enlarge no such professional advice.
In the future we may divide our lives up into pre Facebook and post Facebook. Re Identity – i.e. people re creating a new or modified identity may well come become common practice, as a consequence of social media faux pars. We have willingly made public what in former decades was truly private and in so doing have made our private lives subject to the scrutiny and judgment of the public. For better and worse.