Anyone who knows me in real life knows I love me some conspiracy theories. I’ve not long started reading George Orwell’s 1984 for the fourth time and can’t help but notice the obvious similarities between the way life was described to how it actually is today. The big difference though, is that in the book, Big Brother (the government) surveil the citizens through means of ‘telescreens’ and CCTV cameras dotted around the metropolis.
The surveillance described in the book is that from government to citizen – something that is just part of life but not exactly a voluntary act. However, in today’s social media orientated society we offer this surveillance of our own lives out with no need for the government (or whoever really is in charge) to have to make much effort to keep an eye on us. We literally volunteer to have our lives watched and out there for all the world to see. Whether you’re a bog standard social media user and just have a Facebook profile to keep up with your mates abroad or if you use a variety of social media outlets, ‘they’ are watching you and you are letting them.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware of the fact I’m typing this on another type of social media platform and I myself use a multitude of different outlets but since reading this book again I can’t help but draw this conclusion.
It’s really clever when you think about it. If the world does work in the way I think it does (where there’s an elite group of rich folk at the top of the food chain and we ‘sheeple’ work 9-5 to line their pockets whilst ours are empty) then social media is the perfect way to keep an eye on us and make sure we’re living according to their agenda.
This isn’t just an idea that I have by the way – that ‘they’ watch us. There’s proof of it and we just accept it because we think they’re doing it to look out for us! For example, web cookies when searching online. Ever think it’s weird that they literally watch what we’re searching for then flood future webpages with adverts of those products? Or boost up the prices for train tickets when they’ve seen what you’ve been searching for? All to keep us as mindless consumers spending money we don’t have on stuff we don’t need in order to keep the corporations going and the top dogs rich.
If only George Orwell could see the world today. He’d be absolutely perplexed that we volunteer to be watched. We update our accounts telling people where we are, what we’re doing, who we’re with, what we’re wearing. There’s no need for them to have hidden cameras in our homes when we have them basically attached to our hand or at the end of a selfie stick. It’s just really ironic that Orwell forecast for us to live in a society where we were spied on by an external party but we’ve proved his theory right by volunteering the information for public view.
Technology these days is absolutely phenomenal and as a kid (who had to ask my parents if they were expecting any phone calls before setting up our dial-up internet to talk to my friends on MSN) I would never have expected to be a part of this kind of society. It’s amazing but absolutely terrifying at the same time.
What do you think about this? Have you read the book? Do you think I’m crazy? I’m really eager to know what you think!