Christmas has been and gone, and I was genuinely surprised by my present of an iPod touch from the family.
I’ve just spent most of this evening updating it and getting my head around it, adding apps, linking email address and spending a long time in linking my music to it (arguably the most important thing to do). However, throughout this, it got me thinking about the extra possibilities of acquiring information this now gives me, and the enhancement that can fill to one’s life. Certainly living in a technological modern capital city will make it useful to me to have by my side.
However, it is not just the information we receive that makes the 21st century technological wonders so fascinating, it is also the information about us that we put out there that make it so powerful as well. With this new device in my hand, it will let me type, photograph, scan – and even upload me blog entry for the whole world to see.
Of course, this is all fun and games (and a cynical ploy by me to get more followers to my YouTube channel from school), but there is a serious side to this idea of being brave enough to put yourself online that has allowed some people to make themselves very good careers as musicians and songwriters. It is also used to some degree as a tool by football scouts, computer gamers and of course teachers and many other professions. People who have something good or bad are making content for the whole world to see.
And good for them I believe. It is so very easy to take the 21st century and be scared of it, but we must embrace it to keep our respect. In the UK education system, there is no way I would not only be allowed but would have embraced my YouTube channel, for the fears of using a new social networking method as a basis for interaction with young people in a unsupervised way. Teaching unions would be strongly recommending that I never had a blog like this, or a facebook account, and are living in a reality that is based around giving them less work to do rather than actually making our lives better. Frankly, the internet does have that curse that the information we write remains forever, to our deepest regrets perhaps, but we should all have trust in each other to make the most of that. Those who would do so for bad intent would find ways around it anyway.
I live in a world where my pupils have my mobile number and have asked me questions through it, and that brings a smile to my face that we crash down the barriers and we continue our human societal path towards a 24 hour multi-face network that are our lives.
And it works for many others too. Celebrities (or not so celebrities) need twitter accounts to keep up their public image. Our news feeds are on-demand about what we want to read, not what some toff on the top floor of BBC headquarters decides the world should hear about today. What is great is that we now have choices to make about how we present ourselves, but also time to think about and consider them. In the past, the main way people talked to the media would have been face-to-face, nowadays, one can often have the media listen on their terms and on issues they decide now. The power is back in the hands of people, those wanting fame and glory can take it.
And to end this, I take one example that has smitten me rather typically and embarrassingly naively. We are in the exciting build-up to Melodifestivalen 2012, and one song I am looking forward to based on the songwriters reputation and description is ‘Stormande Hav’ – which Timoteij will perform. This has brought be to Timoteij’s website – www.timoteij.se – which is basically the four singers all blogging about themselves. Now, Timoteij’s fan base is I believe Eurovision fans and little girls, so the blog is quite simple (stories often revolve around performances, fashion and baking), but still is really personal about their lives. For example today I found out that Johanna in the band (who is also fairytale-like beautiful) is leaving home and moving in with a friend in an apartment in Skövde. I can’t imagine why she chooses to tell her fans this information, but I find her somehow even lovelier for doing so.
This innocent type of user-based content obviously creates the public image she wants for her professional career, but when it crosses these boundaries too there is one again a link between her workplace and her livelihood, which I certainly respect from my history. The fact the two can work in side by side and complement each other is a testament to the fact with the power of the internet in our hands, sharing information about us should, like this, be a good thing. Human beings are here to be powers of good not bad.
I’ll certainly be using my new friend to tell the world even more about me, and so see what pretty dress Johanna and her friends are wearing, and to make the world’s population connect up even better with each other.