Millennials, the name with which a new generation of people have been labelled, differ from many of the generations that came before them when the issue of privacy is brought up in conversation.
Fortunate, or unfortunate, enough to deal with this younger generation in the role of a teacher, their take on the issue is strikingly different from my own seemingly semi-paranoid generation, who spent an inordinate amount of wasted time objecting to identity cards, which would no doubt have been poorly kept, poorly recorded, and would have probably provided less useful information than the average ‘name-crunching’ database selling leads for double-glazing or conservatorys.
The main thrust of the Millennials’ view is one of utter ambivalence. Asked whether they see anything sinister or odd in the obsessive data-gathering of multi-nationals, their reaction to my question is a bamboozled sympathy for me. I’m too old to understand how things work for this generation, they probably think. They actually want the tweets or texts telling them that a pair of shoes, that they might like or have once glimpsed at on-line, are on sale, as they saunter past a shop in Westfield. How the data exchange occurred is simply not an issue. The mixture of media platforms through which they are contacted has inured them to suspicion or worry. Information gathering they believe will ultimately serve them, as they can’t see what the motivation for gathering it could be otherwise. Things will be designed, based on the information provided upstream. Similar to the arguments I remember from the ID card days, but in reverse, they suggest that those with blemish free lives really don’t have that much to worry about.
Many are now savvy enough to realise that posting drunken images of themselves on Facebook, or having real identities on Twitter, Instagram, Grinder, Tinder or any other platform is probably not a great idea, so have aliased these, and believe the net-curtain they have raised is sufficient to protect them from any real interference in their private lives. They may be right? What motivation does anyone have to reveal the comings and goings of a nobody? Should they hit the heady heights of celebrity status, that of course may change, as even their windy releases become currency then.
Privacy for many of them is an elitist worry. Celebrities being compensated for what they perceived as minor intrusions into their lives. In their desire for status, and celebrity status being the only type carrying kudos, the mantra that all publicity is good publicity, ironically from the ID card era, has been revived. Checking their stats on their various platforms, seeking ever further exposure for whatever about them they believe might possibly be of interest to others, privacy is not an issue they wish to concern themselves with.