Brown: For myself, I have very personal things that have never been discussed online, and likely never will be. I also am very open about things that others wouldn't even bring up at a whisper - I've written about sexuality, cancer, and other controversial, often personal subjects. It really comes down to your personal comfort level, just as it would when you have met a stranger at a party or sat next to someone at the bar. One of the undercurrents of Our Virtual Shadow is that the separation between our online environment and our daily, physical environment is paper thin. I believe common sense applies to both environments.
I think it's also important to emphasize that the book isn't about oversharing, but overdocumenting. Who cares if someone posts their own private info online? We can waggle our fingers, but their decisions are rarely going to directly affect our own lives. Instead, the discussion should be on how our personal quality of life is being affected by the need to document an abnormal amount of moments in our lives. I argue that our current tools - namely social media - require us to shift our focus from fully experiencing a moment *to* managing the software to document that moment as it's happening. Study after study shows that we're not so great at multitasking, so something's got to give. It would be a shame to miss a one-in-a-lifetime moment because we were so busy trying to capture it on a social network.
Brown is a co-founder of Quote Unquote, a new app that allows you to document interesting things you hear people say. He's been a journalist for over a decade and has written over a dozen books, notably Playboy's Greatest Covers with Hugh Hefner and Porn & Pong: How Grand Theft Auto, Tomb Raider and Other Sexy Games Changed Our Culture. You can get his TED book for $2.99 via Amazon, Apple's iBookstore, and Barnes and Noble. Then you can ponder Brown's points that if you are so obsessed with tech and social media, so busy documenting and sharing your virtual life . . . that you are actually missing out on enjoying your real life.
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