The End of an Anonymous Existence

21 Jun

Remember the days when you could “lose it” in a public place, just because you were having a “bad day”, cry, swear at someone, act out, storm away, and no one would know who you were? Not anymore! An article in the New York Times today, June 21st by Brian Stelter entitled “Upending Anonymity, These Days The Web Unmasks Everyone” tells the tale of the implications of huge changes in the issue of anonymity vs. public exposure regarding anything at all that is of interest to the few or the many…..2 billion internet users decide which one. No one can count on controlling any publicly exposed morsel of information, both because “the cameras are always running”, and also because the public forum of the internet is endlessly casting its votes.

This is a fascinating commentary, as is points to the vast multi-national cultural changes underway, due to the “window on the world” provided by the combination of ubiquitous cell-phone cameras, and digital fingerprints of email, Twitter, Facebook and other instant and permanent records of everything and anything recordable.

Another article in the New York Times on Sunday June 19th, entitled “Portals To Power” by Guy Trebay,, discusses the Core Club, a private New York City club democratically devoted to a membership of the top 1% of all US households, whose earnings are above $3,061,546, but in reality, who are expected to earn around $13,719,746!

One of the cultural implications of the existence and thriving membership of the Core Club is the that its organizing principles differentiate it drastically from the “old guard” private clubs which have dominated the exclusive domain of “who’s in” especially in New York. These older establishment clubs are based on where one went to prep school, a handful of colleges and universities and the family tree of the members.

However the Core Club (and one suspects many more to come) membership is based on a meritocracy. If you are successful, want to share your success with others, and network the heck out of your membership, interacting with your cell phone, your emails, your iPad and whatever electronic connectivity pleases you, you can get in and have fun with your peers! No more leather sofas, absolute electronic taboos, and ban on business meetings in “the club” atmosphere. Let’s Boogie!

I expect we will be seeing a lot more articles discussing the broader cultural implications of the leveling of the playing field, so long held in place by old money, proper university training, and who-knows-who. (see my blog post on June 6th “Is the Cost Of Paying For Higher Education Worth It?”) @ www.scialleshawls.wordpress.com, for another discussion touching on these types of issues.

The bottom line is that old systems of organizing, judging, belonging, making money, what/who is in/out, and many other accepted societal norms are shifting and re-combining in a fresh way.

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