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Sunday, July 12, 2015
Is This a Social Network or a Gulag? The Artists Virtual Life Destroyed
Now if I had a simple name like John Jones (no offense to the John Jones out there) I can't help but wonder if I would have never received such a warning. But alas Mr. Grey Cross doesn't seem to fit their profile of a normal average citizen.
Of course, anyone who knows me, knows also how stubborn I am. I refuse to be treated like a criminal and refuse to give them any such proof of who I am. Thus an account in good standing for 7 years will be summarily wiped off the face of the earth, virtually eliminating a large portion of my virtual life.
Various suggestions came in from caring friends including forging documents and creating false names. But any system that treats its users like this does not deserve my finding a way to remain on their network.
But it leads to some deeper ethical questions that we will eventually have to face as social networking becomes a larger and larger part of our life. Those 7 years represent for me the earlier years of my career as an artist.
I look at it this way. If I was a world renowned artist rather than a nobody was facing this, would it be either wise or humane to wipe away evidence of the early years of his artists life? I equate it to someone coming in and ripping up the first journals of Leonardo Da Vinci because they thought he was a Genovese instead of a Florentine and he couldn't prove it! (yeah that's a vague reference, but google it if you don't get it)
We are half virtual now. A vast part of who we were is now out there for any historian to research. As I've said before, we are more immortal now than any generation that has ever come before us. And this organization is choosing to wipe that immortality off the face of the earth.
Is there a solution? I suppose not. We also live in an age where the large corporations have sway. They cane do what they want, when they want because there is no one to tell them differently. But rules like this don't take into account the role they now play in the future history of this world. They see nothing more than the immediate profit of the next quarter without considering the greater picture of what they represent.
This saddens me in a way that I cannot really express in words because the artist in me mourns for all the others who may have the same thing happen to them because of a ridiculous rule.
Some will say "well your just being a curmudgeon and you get the service for free so follow their rules". But if we do not take a broader look at what these social networks represent in terms of documenting the history of who each of us are, then I think we lose a greater part of our own humanity.
For those that will come after this poor artist and see a gap of seven years in his life, know this. Those seven years counted for much of who I am today and who I will be tomorrow. The information contained in each of those posts include:
- my failing health to HIV and how I crawled back from near death to vitality again
- my mothers last words to me before she became sick and passed
- the first days when I fell in love with and discovered my partner in life and love Billy Martin
- the first pieces of art I created after I retired from photography
- the photos of thousands of you taken over the years
All of this lives still in the confines of my own computer and my heart but it will never ever be shared again with the world because all those memories have passed now.
Take these things into consideration Facebook when you randomly destroy a persons virtual life.
~THE GREY CROSS~