The ‘Guardian’ gets philosophical:
If your train journey proves a little trying beware letting go of your emotions lest the live-tweeter in seat 34A reveals your misery to millions.This is what, in effect, happened to a couple who were having a fairly lively argument on board a northbound Virgin train recently. It was their misfortune to be sitting close to comedian Janey Godley, who tweeted the whole thing to several thousand followers – including the real names of the two protagonists.
Now, most people are probably thinking ‘A plague on all their houses’ at this point. Being the ‘Guardian’, however, this provokes angst:
The question is do you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in these public situations and what behaviour can you expect of a witness equipped with a smartphone capable of tweet-picing your every move to the world?
There are the expected responses pointing out the expected – and perfectly reasonable – fact that if you choose to have a public row in a public place, you’ve already said goodbye to privacy.
And oddly enough, these aren’t the most recommended comments!
These, however, are, at least at the time of writing:
Sealion says…Its not just an issue of privacy, its one of respect. Sure, we can choose to broadcast any and every personal thing we see or hear over Twitter but it shows a level of self importance and complete lack of respect of anyone around us.
jam3sm says…Conversations should be treated the same way as photographs. You wouldn’t casually take a photo of someone without asking their permission, and you wouldn’t be able to publish it without their permission. The same should go for people’s conversations.
coffeetable says…I think commenter above are missing the point. It might be an argument that gets tweeted, but it could be anything. It could be a very quiet, private conversation that was only audible from the next seat. It could be something overheard by chance and tweeted with devastating personal consequences. If anything can be tweeted, what’s to stop news of a death or terminal illness reaching friends and relatives through this medium; infidelity; etc. Secondly, all the people who think that not saying or doing anything in public is the solution – really, what’s the difference between this and any other controlling or totalitarian monitering of citizen behaviour? If you have to be constantly on your guard for fear of being mocked or exposed, what kind of a life is that? People don’t have to be shouting or causing a disturbance to be audible to someone else in a public space. They just have to be speaking aloud in a public place. I find this trend pretty disturbing, and I think that the reluctance of most people to think seriously about it is even more worrying.
adromeda says…I didn’t find this funny. It’s very disrespectful. Who hasn’t had a row with somebody that hasn’t gotten even a little bit public for chrissake? This is a very mean thing to do.
No-one seems to think that there’s anything wrong with having a row in public and broadcasting your every embarrassing thought and utterance to the world; instead, they seem to believe that they are the ones behaving perfectly decently, and it’s those who are listening in who are being that most 2012 of descriptions, ‘disrespecteful’….
Luckily, this comment pretty much sums up my own view of the subject:
scraggs says…Bloke on the bus was saying things, via his mobile phone, of a VERY personal and intimate nature to (presumably) his girlfriend. We fellow passengers were in no way eavesdropping, he was speaking so loudly that it would have been difficult not to hear or try and block it out. He appeared totally unaware (despite speaking at high volume) of this or the fact that people were feeling uncomfortable, irritated and/or awkward.
Finally someone gave him a nudge and politely suggested that he keep his voice down, to which his response was “DO YOU FUCKING MIND, MATE? THIS IS A PRIVATE CONVERSATION”
Some people have no idea that privacy involves not broadcasting yourself. It seems to me that people have blurred the boundaries between public and private regardless of social networks: mobile phones have a heck of a lot to answer for in terms of public space becoming a sphere for private interaction.
But have we really become a nation of people who forego the ‘stiff upper lip’ for ‘letting it all hang out’? And, if so…is this progress?
Over to you, ‘Orphan’ readers..