One of the things that really frustrates me about the new technologies which we're acquiring, is that we're not acquiring new technologies. Put simply, what we've now got access to isn't necessarily because it's new, but because it has become accessible to the masses. Twitter, for example, was technically possible way back when - but it's only now that people have been given access to the idea to use RSS feeds to send out 140 character messages, that people use it to send out 140 character messages.
There's a similar story with facebook. I was watching my local news bulletin, North West Tonight, when a big bloke was being filmed walking around a trashed house with a full camera crew, and lamenting the fact that facebook had trashed his house - and assigning them responsible.
Unfortunately, the blame does lie with his 16 year old daughter - who arranged a house party whilst her parents were away. News of the party got onto facebook - apparently from a post that she authored - and thus more than the 'gathering' of friends anticipated turned up - and some opportunist vandals trashed the place. However, that's not facebook's fault - necessarily.
Now, the one thing that facebook probably needs to do is start to set default privacy settings which are in favour of privacy, rather than it's advertising customers. Sure, facebook is free because of the absolutely unrivalled profiling that it can achieve as compared to any other medium - but once that information is on the servers, then it should be up to facebook to parse it - rather than leaving it open for the world and his wife to have a go at processing. It suprised me when I first sat down to write a facebook program just how easy it was to "spider" information, that is, if you can access a friend of a friends information, assuming each person has 100 friends, then if you access 1 person, you can access 10,000 profiles of information. That's quite a few from just one person adding your application.
So yeah, perhaps facebook has some housekeeping to do - but the end user also has to take responsibility. Facebook is not a ring-fenced safe place where you can communicate in privacy with your friends - it's a worldwide noticeboard that allows millions of people to interconnect.
The techology provides us with the ability to do things that were limited to the few people who had the resources and finances to kick things off. Some of the technology though is getting abused. As Rory Cellan-Jones put in his dot.Blog this week regarding 4 Square. Though in itself it's an innocent enough application (it tells people you're location realtime via GPS) - it also notifies people that you're not at home. Unfortunately the technologies are moving too fast for the end user to think "actually, what information have I just reliquished to the masses?" On the flip side, used thoughtfully and the technology can open up some incredible opportunities.
As Uncle Ben says in Spiderman - "With great power comes great responsibility." The average Jo(ann)e now has more power at their fingertips that ever before. In just a few clicks, we can reach millions of people with our messages, and new opportunities are springing up like never before. As an example, just this week a band called "Die Antwoord" have taken over the internet. I've had the pleasure of listening to some of their stuff a few years back - the mother of 'Waddy' is an absolute legend, as she nursed my mothers grandparents during their final years.
The internet is providing us with fantastic broadcasting opportunities - it's up to us to use them creatively and responsibly.