The era of the computer-age speeds along. How could we ever function without it? If it were not for this wonderful machine we would feel back in the dark ages. Today news and information is power, and it comes at lightning speeds - speeds that some of feel we struggle to keep up with... Some simply choose to not.
The choice is ours. I for one absolutely love it! Hey, it is my job to catch information as it is doled out across the planet on this world wide web. Times have changed. Today anything about anyone can be read by the masses in mere minutes - be careful what you put into print as it is now a thread on the multi-layers of the web called the internet. I urge anyone to do a
Vanity Search on
www.google.com and just see how your own name could be out there!? A Vanity Search is when you enter your own name on a search engine.
While so many of us...now the majority, have given in to this most important communication tool, some still choose to NOT be swayed into its dazzling light. Sitting with friends over lunch the other day some names of persons we know who do not use the computer came up. Some of us were horrified that in those mentioned some were very high profile individuals in our community. Persons depended upon by others, for seriously matters. Lawyers or politicians I mean.
We next discussed the reason being. Well they must not be bothered to learn how to use one we all agreed. The individuals in question were indeed over the age of forty, and they all had secretaries or wives, husbands, or even children that could check emails for them. What a shame to be missing out on such a fast and effective communication tool I thought. And, eventually these persons, who I feel must simply have a fear of trying a new thing (perhaps for fear of lack of control - not fast enough, not doing it right..) will die one day, and their following will be carrying all those skills into the future, in other words, computer illiteracy will soon be a thing of the past!
Children today are far different than ourselves and each year that passes it seems that children are almost born with a mouse or keyboard in their hands.
I've noticed the passion with digital cameras today. Almost everyone has one and the youth of today spend much of their time doing their best pose in front of a myriad of cameras whether they are in line at a movie theatre, or at the beach with a group of friends. Having three daughters, I often hear my girls talking about a photo shoot here or there. They gather with a few friends, bring bags of clothes and cameras and spend a day taking pictures of each other. These images make it next onto their Facebook pages so that all their peers and contacts can see them, comment on them, etc. Changing your profile picture is also important so more photo shoots are then needed. Our vanity and image has definitely been highlighted through the use of the digital world.
The phenomenon of Facebook.com is another wonder to ponder. With MySpace now taking a back seat (except I feel for those in the music industry), Facebook is a forum on fire. Even I have a Facebook page. I feel it can be an invasion of ones privacy, but hey, if you want privacy don't join it. I've learned fast to check it daily in case someone has posted some ghastly photo of me... so I can quickly un-tag myself so others won't see it. You can tell people how you are feeling, what you like or hate, and people can even read comments made between you and your contacts. The upside of Facebook it that I have reconnected with old colleagues, high school friends and even casual acquaintances. It definitely makes one "feel" connected to a vast array of people, some of which we may only see now and then, or never, but through it we can be in touch daily if we so choose.
With the internet itself being such an open forum, it takes me to another hot topic - copyright. Today one can use Google images, and many rely on Google images for all kinds of relative photos used for school assignments, business plans, etc, etc. Today, pretty much anything is free game as long as it is posted on the net. Copyright is important however, and I guess if someone were to take one of your images and start making millions off of it, you should go after your rights, but it is pretty much a given now that the internet has become a place of sharing information.
But, let's look at music. Look at how the internet has changed the copyright of music. Kids no longer have to go out to the stores to get their favorite songs, they have all kinds of free alternatives. Any artist in the music industry has just had to accept that. And by doing so...offering their work for free in some places, a whole other world has been opened and we as humans change, adjust and adapt to a new way of thinking also.
Recently my sixteen year old daughter Tohni found out that a photographic image she took and digitally painted (in 2006), "Converse Love" was snapped up by someone else, and is now a popular Flair on Facebook.com and is being viewed and posted by many. Someone took it from her artist page on DeviantArt.com (a great forum/site by the way, free to all, and one of the best artist's forums online). It is not being sold, so my daughter is okay with it, and rather flattered. However she was not okay with finding out that another artist on DeviantArt re-created her idea into another image similar (but not as nice) as hers, and is getting much attention also. Such is life...
"Converse Love" by Tohni Kirstan Blower - 2006
Now if Tohni had watermarked her image like you see here, no one would have grabbed it, and it would have only be seen by her contacts. With it being 'out there' it is now being enjoyed by thousands. Over 6000 people have seen this image to date. So the same applies to any photographer, and artist... with use of the internet. You can slap a watermark copyright sign on it and only people who come in contact with you will see it. If you feel you do not care who sees it and uses it, the world can be opened up. And like in my daughters situation, if someone likes it enough, they may just take your idea and re-create it. An interesting thing to consider!
As we move forward with the ingeniousness of technology, it seems to unite us more and more. I feel it is a good thing; a powerful tool, which IF used for good, can only enhance our planet and race.
About the author: Robbin Whachell has been a resident of Grand Bahama Island since 1998. She moved to Freeport from Vancouver, Canada. She is the mother of four children and is an involved volunteer in the community, in particular with the YMCA. She is a founding member of the Grand Bahama Writer's Circle, and The Bahamas representative for the International Women's Writer's Guild. Her passion for life on Grand Bahama comes across in her innovative and intuitive sharing and networking of information within the community she lives. She is appreciative of her opportunity to live in The Bahamas and looks forward to the continuance of being a team player within the larger community of The Bahamas. Robbin is the Editor of TheBahamasWeekly.com and can be reached at