Monthly Archives: November 2009

Digital etiquet

In these days of everyone throwing all of their business on the web for the whole world to see, I begin to wonder about the rules of engagement. I’m not talking about hackers or identity thieves, but about the analog version of human interaction. Real face to face conversation with living humans your reach out and touch, and how our digital lives relate to our personal interactions. I ponder this because I don’t believe the web has been totally integrated into our concepts of personal space.
I’m a web savvy suburbanite, so of course I have a facebook page and two twitter accounts. The facebook page is for my family and far flung friends. I keep the friends list small and limited to people I actually know, and post stuff I would probably tell them over the phone (which I do far too infrequently these days). Basically, I manage my online interactions in the same way I manage my personal interactions. They’re the same thing to me.
For some though, it’s harder to be as selective online. If your facebook friends have 300 friends, surely you should have 300 friends as well. Accepting friend requests from people you hardly know is just the way it’s done. It’s awkward to deny a co-workers friend request and then see them everyday. Still, is it any less awkward when that new co-worker you just meet yesterday but accepted the night before comments on that Halloween party picture in your gallery? You know the one. Yeah… that one.
Where do we draw the line? How well should you know someone before you let them into your digital domain? When is it acceptable to discuss something you saw online (but weren’t a part of) with someone in person? Maybe that co-worker just wanted to feel like they belonged. Maybe they wanted to get to know the group better. How do we prevent awkward real world moments from being caused by digital openness?
Personally, I just post stuff I wouldn’t mind my mother seeing. She is a friend of mine on facebook after all. Are there pictures of me doing dumb things out there? You bet. Do I put them up for the world to see? Absolutely not.
When I get to that awkward place where a co-worker asked me why I haven’t accepted their friend request, I tell them the truth. I view social networking as a way to keep in touch with people I care about, not keep up with work scuttlebutt when I’m at home. Then I spend the next few months frequently denying their vein attempts at friending me (some people just don’t get it).
A few of my co-workers have gone so far as to delete their pages or all of their work friends. I wasn’t hurt or angry that they didn’t want to be my online friend anymore. My real life friendships with them certainly haven’t been impacted by it. Now when I say “What’s up”, I genuinely have no clue and the resulting conversation doesn’t seem redundant.
I’ve always advocated moderation in the online environment. I believe a person should cultivate a few strong relationships rather than many acquaintances. Social networking is a great tool for keeping in touch, but instant access to a relative stranger’s personal life is a bit much. On an unrelated note, follow me on Twitter @faultcode113.

Advertisements

Health Care as a guarantee of your right to life.

It’s no secret that health care has taken an oxymoronic turn for the worse in this country. The debate over it’s reform has a lot of people up in arms. Words like recision and socialism have crept into every day conversation. So, let’s you and I talk about it. If you’re from outside the US, feel free to chime in. I’m Interested in people’s opinions who live in countries with government run or controlled health care.
That said, lets look back in history and peer into words of our fore fathers. In the Declaration of Independence we have three of what they call inalienable rights. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I’ve already given my thoughts on the pursuit of happiness, but what I want to look at right now is life. It occurred to me that our current health care system is in direct conflict to this inalienable right. When an insurer takes away your coverage, after you’ve paid your premiums and jummped through their hoops, they are infringing on your right to live. You’ve played their game, by their rules, and they still won’t play fair.
This is where I think socialized medicine should come in. We need to decouple the word socialism from communism and think of it more like public works and infrastructure. I think the government should be involved in our health. It’s their job to look out for our well being. When decisions about our health and well being are being made by a group who are more concerned about profit than people, I believe the government should act on the behalf of the people. Plenty of other industries are regulated in the interest of the public, and health care should certainly be no different.
Those in the government who are influenced by health care lobbyists will tell you that socialized medicine is expensive. Well, it is. You may pay more taxes, but you might not ever pay premiums or copays again. You would also have the peace of mind in knowing that a major illness won’t lead to bankruptcy and that you’ll get the treatments you need. Additionally, the government has a vested interest in keeping you alive. You pay taxes, and they want your money.
In almost all major illnesses early detection leads to greater success in treatment, but if it’s cost prohibitive many people wait until it’s worse than it ever should have become before seeking treatment. If the government is picking up the bill, then you can go to the doctor at the first sign of trouble.
There are some other benefits to socialized medicine. The government can focus on prevention and healthy living by encouraging (and paying for) regular screenings and check ups. By focusing on prevention and early detection, the government actually save money by avoiding costlier more invasive and time consuming treatments. This would then benefit you by not leading tax increases to pay for expensive procedures.
A healthy populace is an important aspect to any government. Healthy workers make for more efficient and productive workers. A more efficient and productive work force makes for a stronger economy. A stronger economy means higher wages and better benefits. You win again.
People, socialized medicine is not a restriction of you personal liberties. It is in fact guarantying one of your inalienable rights as stated by our declaration of independence. Socialism is not the end of the American dream, it is not communism, and it is not going to replace our representative democracy.