Keeping news of the Royal baby private - even for four hours - was a superb decision. We should all cherish ‘unplugged’ moments

You may be diluting the value of an experience by sharing it online

Share
Related Topics

One of the most valuable commodities in our society is privacy. The first four hours that the Duke & Duchess enjoyed with their new son, whilst only they knew, will have been extremely precious to them. They will be thankful that those in the room remained “unplugged.” Pippa and Harry weren’t live-tweeting, putting the cutting of the umbilical cord on Vine, and instagramming the baby’s feet. You don’t have to be a member of the Royal Family to value privacy - it is becoming increasingly difficult for any of us to retain it.

If you attend a party, chances are at least one person is effectively leaning out the window every few minutes to shout indiscreetly about what is happening inside, except it isn’t just to passers-by, but on Twitter to anyone in the world who cares to listen. We can’t always have yearned to work in PR, but the proliferation of camera phones has now turned us into people who will rave about a restaurant by uploading pictures of the food. We weren’t all citizen journalists and commentators until the technology arrived whereby we could promulgate our rants instantly and globally.

The summer months are an over-sharing spree. From semi-naked holiday snaps to the 3000 shot wedding albums, many people seem to believe that they need to live public, photo-filtered lives. At least half of those photos contain other people taking photos, because of course there’s a competition to see who best captures some aspect of the event. If we’re talking holidays, consensus seems to be that this photo should be either sunset, just a set of legs on a beach, or a blurry photo of a cocktail by a pool. If this is a wedding then pictures of the empty, but ornately arranged dining hall, the bride’s yet-to-be-worn shoes on a windowsill, or a cutely personalised name place card are all well represented.

In reaction to this has been a movement towards “unplugged” events at which the sharing of information online and even sometimes the use of technology is forbidden. Some wedding couples have gone so far as to employ staff to remove mobile phones from guests. If you had wanted to invite all of someone’s Facebook friends or Twitter followers to your child’s christening, the argument goes, you might have done so.

Removing phones from your friends and relatives might sound diva-ish, but if people are treating their guests like paparazzi, it may be because their guests are acting that way. We’ve all learned how to use technology which allows us to upload sound, text and video instantly, but we haven’t learned, or even written the basic social rules of how the technology should be used.

An obvious presumption for the use of social media should be that if you are attending a private invitation-only event, you shouldn’t share details of that event with the wider world. Advertising the fact that you were invited might cause headaches for the organiser often faced with the dilemma of who to invite. Another obvious presumption should be that unless encouraged to do so, sharing photographs of the event is also an intrusion into what is supposed to be a private function.

Some people will always want to live their lives on display, letting you know how they’re feeling, where they are, and what they’re up to on a constant basis. Internet companies rely upon this churn of information to feed consumption and revenue. Somewhere along the way this turned many of us into self-facilitating media nodes with little or no awareness of privacy, but it is privacy which gives meaning to our closest friendships, and importance to our most important personal events. CS Lewis was speaking ahead of his time when he said that “we live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”

Next time you’re invited to a Bat Mitzvah, birthday party, or even just a holiday with friends and loved ones, consider going “unplugged”. Take photos for your own albums, but rather than increasing your enjoyment by sharing the details online, you may be diluting the value of the experience. Some of our most precious moments should also remain the most private.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Syria's Kurds have little choice but to flee amid the desolution, ruins and danger they face

Patrick Cockburn
A bartender serves two Mojito cocktails  

For the twenty-somethings of today, growing up is hard to do

Simon Kelner
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones