I think many of us are just missing the point when it comes to the outrage the recent Wikileaks revelations has caused.
I mean, don't we already know that most politicians are two-faced and that international diplomacy to a large extent is really a grown-up version of Gossip Girl?
Of course we all knew this, let us not fool ourselves, the current upheaval isn't about what Wikileaks has revealed to us -- the people -- but about some of the world's top politicians and decision makers who now feel embarrassed and discredited.
As the case is when these things happen, many went on to try and 'shoot the messenger' (in this case 'WikiLeaks') labelling it as illegal while several intelligence and security agencies tried hacking the website or taking it down.
Yet, to those who are trying to obstruct the flow of information, I say it is time for a harsh reality check: Even if we do manage to take down Wikileaks -- ten other websites will spring up the next day. Even if we do find a new secure and private way to send diplomatic cables, it will still eventually be penetrated and someone will always reveal information if s/he feels the need to.
In fact, we now live in an era where we can't hide anything anymore... we have to accept this reality, particularly that much of this same reality has been caused by our doing.
We voluntarily surrender personal information, intimate pictures, declare our preferences, list our interests, tell people where we have been, where we are going and we publish all that on a website accessed by more than 500 million people, while our searches, posts and transactions are being recorded, tracked, analyzed and stored without us having a choice about it.
Everyday, we hear of problems, break-ups, divorces and scandals caused by our own participation in sites like Facebook and Twitter. Still, such effects are relatively small given that we, as normal people, have very little impact on the world around us.
However, politicians and world leaders are of a different calibre -- which is why they try to only engage in social networking in an official manner, which means they use their Facebook page as another PR tool to make politically correct statements and attract supporters by spreading propaganda material.
Obviously, no politician is going to post an honest 'Status-Update' saying: "OMG, I just bribed a world leader who will now allow me to dump my toxic waste in his country, LOL" nor will an intelligence officer's 'Relationship Status' visibly transform from "in a relation with an extremist group" to "waging war on an extremist group" when the honey-moon (usually associated with interests) is over.
Yet, politicians are mistaken if they thought that by simply staying away from social networking they would be immune... NOBODY is and that is the scary part of this new reality.
Just like you and I now have to struggle to hide the fact that we went to a party which we didn't want anyone to know about, as there could always be that random person who might have snapped a shot and posted it online -- the same concept applies to what politicians say or do, if they don't mean it - we will know, sooner or later.
Are the Wikileaks revelations good or bad? I really don't know.
Is social media making us all more truthful? Again, I don't know -- but it sure is making it much more difficult to lie, or indeed... be 'diplomatic'.
The best advice over this matter comes from Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt who recently commented on the impact of the web on our privacy by saying: "If you have something you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
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