Is Someone Spying on You? Plus, Why ‘Digital Big Brother’ is Here to Stay

This is the second in a series of blogs looking at the worth of words.

I recently had the need to spy on my neighbor. I’m talking binoculars and all. I was washing dishes and looking out my kitchen window when I spotted someone doing something on the lower roof of my neighbor’s home.

I was curious. Who wouldn’t be? Since squinting failed me, I broke out the binoculars, which I honestly keep on a high shelf in my laundry room cabinet. Far away from my kitchen window. I promise.

About an acre or more of land separates my home from my backyard neighbor’s home. And the land is fairly wooded. During the spring and summer, the full trees offer a densely veiled wall of privacy. Not so in the fall and winter.

As I spied on my neighbor’s home, I was struck by the thought that no one there had any idea I was a mere inches away. They didn’t know I was watching their every move.

Yet in today’s world (albeit not in your own home), we should assume that we are always being watched. We should assume that we are just a mere unlock slide away from a starring role on YouTube or Facebook or Twitter.

“Every great and original writer, in proportion as he is great and original, must himself create the taste by which he is to be relished.” – Poet William Wordsworth

While we can’t live our lives in fear of Big Brother, we can live a life more measured. We can think before we act, before we speak, before we write or post or tweet or …

In the past, we had to pull from our memory and clips and portfolios to craft our resumes. To pull together computerized representations of ourselves that we would then print out, mail out and hand out to the select audience we wanted for viewing. Now, our lives – for better or worse – are being chronicled at every moment and by anyone.

Each post we make. Each word we write. Each photo we like. Each person we friend. Each tweet we share. Each reveals a little more of who we are and what we are.

And our next employer, our next client, our next teammate could be just mere seconds away without us even knowing.

Just like my neighbor was unaware of me.

So what happened there? What I saw with my naked eye made me think my neighbor’s teenage daughter was on the roof of their home. Out of concern for her safety, I had to take a peek.

Thankfully, what the binoculars magnified was a young woman having a snack and doing her homework in the warmish fading sunshine (albeit in a strange location). I felt a bit creepy, but I thought I had a responsibility to ensure her protection.

And now through this experience, I feel a stronger need to ensure my own character’s protection … and worth.

Nicole van Esselstyn only has used her binoculars on previous occasions to get closer to the action at a sporting event or concert or in nature. She promises. Stay tuned for the next installment in our blog series, Words Worth.