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How is the web society changing our Private and Public Life?

Sharma Dahal Prabhakar, Muhammad Nuruddin: “Public Parts: How is the web society changing our Private and Public Life?” PechaKucha presentation in the Web Society Course of Gerald Fricke, 14th, June 2013

Here on Slideshare: http://de.slideshare.net/psharmad/how-is-web-society-chan


“Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live” [4] is a book written by Jeff Jarvis. Jeff Jarvis is an American professor, journalist and former television critic. In the book “Public Parts” he has described how the web technology is changing our private and public life. He listed benefits of being public and sharing in the web society. He also expressed his opinion against regulations of protecting privacy.

People need time to adapt to changes over technology. Some people are afraid of web and sharing. They are concerned regarding their privacy while sharing over the web. Moving to the past as early as 1450[1], as Gutenberg’s press started, some people were afraid of losing their privacy by printing names on books. They were worried and felt insecured with thoughts that they would be identified in future by book buyers. U.S. citizens thought the same when first Kodak portable camera [2] was invented. They were worried thinking that photographing themselves over public might hamper their privacy. Though technology has evolved and people are adopting openness, they still have same feeling regarding Google glass or Google street view. Recently Google glass was banned from many places including beaches. It was outlawed from the Washington monument [3]. Few years ago when Google launched street view, 3% of households of Germany expressed their objection [5]. They were complaining about violation of privacy by exposing their house photo in the web. But how? Jeff Jarvis asks openly that whose privacy is violated when Google published building’s photo in the web: Are they owners, since they own the building, or the architects since they design the house? Jeff Jarvis was worried about losing amazing benefits of publicness because of our over concern on privacy issues.

He also highlighted the relation between privacy and publicness. Privacy and publicness are not antonymous; instead they are dependent on each other. He explained these issues and gave some good argument about how web society is expanding the scope of private life. Our private life is becoming more public in course of time with new technology and there is nothing wrong with that.

Web Society has become essential part of human life. Jeff Jarvis on his book says it is hard for us to live or carry out our daily works without the web or the Internet. Development of different technologies eases our life. Evolution of media like blogging, YouTube, social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Wikipedia have changed our lives. He presented the net to be the tool for publicness.

Jeff Jarvis mentions 10 main arguments as strong evidence of publicness. We are free to connect to anyone we like, speak to each other to express our thoughts, compare such thoughts, combine them and come up with new ideas. Privacy is ethic of knowing, Publicness is ethic of sharing. The more we share our views, the more benefits we get because of different views and thoughts for the same thing. Internet must be open and equally distributed to everyone. It should not matter who or where the person is. Publicness provides interactions. Interacting on specific topic can be beneficial for all. For example: If a car company starts an internet group called Car Lovers, and wants feedback from the real users thoughts on “Car for middle class family”, then the company will be able to get the actual features for the car from the actual users. As a result both the car company and the community will be benefitted by the collaborative efforts.

He also mentioned that institutional information should be public by default and private by necessity. Government should become more transparent. Companies should be more open. Companies should share more to get collaborative benefits. And web is an amazing medium for openness and sharing.

Jeff Jarvis also stated some issues on publicness. It is not bad to publicly declare health report of a person. But personal data like social security number, pension ID should be kept secret. Data regarding citizen should be private in government offices and same applies with the bank card number or criminal records. All those information which can be misused or abused and can bring harmful results in the social life of a person should not be made public.

Internet is the tool of sharing information to change the society. But with the warning issues of publicness, should a government make its security planning open? Asking my audience should USA make its NSA project and data public?

Moreover on publicness, China is controlling single bits of information crossing out from its border. All social, blogging and micro blogging sites except Skype are banned in China. Should Chinese government think of openness not only to their public but also to the entire world and let these all banned sites server frequently over there? Iran during the prime minister Election time banned Facebook hampering the right of people to share over internet. Would it be a good idea? Leaking private information by Julian Assange was an attempt to bring internal structure of many countries over public. Do you think this attempt is enough? Was this attempt right and healthy for the general public?

Why should we not be public? What is the fear of being public for personnel, companies or countries? Such questions are still unanswered and might be unanswered for long.

Sharma Dahal Prabhakar, Muhammad Nuruddin


[1] Printing press, Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Printing_press

[2] History of Camera, Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_camera

[3] Online journal – Time Ideas, “Fears of Google Glass Are Unfounded”, http://ideas.time.com/2013/05/22/fears-of-google-glass-are-unfounded/  , May 22, 2013

[4] Jeff Jarvis, “Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live”, August 1, 2011

[5] Shane Richmond, The Telegraph blog, “Germans blur their homes on Google Street View. But why?” , http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/technology/shanerichmond/100005975/germans-blur-their-homes-on-google-street-view-but-why/, November 4th, 2010

[6] Jeff Jarvis, “Authors@Google”. WWW data. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFZ-AsmxV-w accessed on 14th June, 2013.

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