Artisan by Dan Joyce
Fifteen Minutes Of Facebook Fame
When I was living in Los Angeles, I bought a digital camera and started to make my art available on eBay. It was then I first notice the extreme communication power of the Internet. On my first item sale, I photographed a watercolor painting and within an hour I heard a comment from someone in China. Suddenly, my art was available all over the world without doing much at all.
Many saw the immediate problems of the Internet, women being stalked by strangers, pedophiles seeking children and idiots randomly insulting everyone’s personal values. But it wasn’t clear to me how bad this could get until the new millennium brought us social media. Andy Warhol once said, “In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes,” and with facebook, twitter and google, the day was soon to arrive. Now it is so easy to speak and be heard, that the younger generation simply takes that for granted. But there are unspoken guidelines and etiquette to consider. What can and more so, what can’t be said. We can freely criticize the president, talentless celebrities like the Kardashians, politics of local government, but what about our neighbors? Do slander laws apply or have they even yet been established? Do we have the legal right to criticize anyone publicly?
Of course there are social consequences, talk about your boss or your job and get fired, talk about your significant other and lose a relationship, talk about family and become disowned… But what about the random people who react when seemingly not involved at all? I first noticed the danger, when I was promoting a book criticizing some of the problems I had run into in 12 step programs. Yes, I was removed from some of the groups, but worse, they were getting a hold of my phone number and personal information online and I was getting death threats from people in AA who fanatically believed I was going against their God. The police said all I could do about it was file restraining orders, but how do you do that legally with what seemed an entire organization? Also, the individuals making the threats were part of an anonymous organization and there was no way to locate them or serve such papers.
While young people know how to operate and iPad or iPhone with ease, they are also learning a social protocol the older generation never learned, never had and simply wasn’t expecting. While it’s silly for us to simply post pictures of our puppies, sexy selfies or our meals online, there is great responsibility that must be taken in the power of communication this century has brought about. I predict many laws will follow. What seems harmless can and is doing great damage. But along the lines of Warhol’s thinking, we have a great power in our hands today. You now have the ability to communicate with people all throughout your community and literally all over the world in portable devices that can fit in our pockets. But what are you going to say?