George Orwell and Google

My posting rate has slightly slowed lately due to minor technical problems. I understand that these problems will probably go away if I switch to the new Blogger format, which also gives advantages like the ability to assign categories to each post. Now, how cool will that be, to find all the posts on, say punctuation, with a single click? In another month or so, the choice will no longer be mine. Blogger will switch everyone.

So, why on earth have I dawdled, rather than immediately switching?

Now, that’s a story I’ve never written. It goes back to my junior year in high school when I read George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty Four in English class. This novel made my skin crawl. I grew up in Los Alamos, NM, where nearly every family had at least one member with a Q clearance, the highest security rating at the time (as far as I know), and for much of the time I lived there, security guards limited entrance to the town to residents and invited guests. Perhaps the novel made more of an impact on me for this reason. In any case, it shaped my entire outlook on life.

The year 1984 has long since passed into history without Orwell’s dystopian vision being realized, at least in the Unity States. However, as time has passed and the ubiquity of credit cards, use of Social Security numbers for general identification, availability of all medical records to insurance companies, identity theft, airport security, and so on has grown, my discomfort has escalated. I tend to be, without apology, a personal privacy freak.

Enter Google, the undisputed king of cyber packrats. They never delete anything. I don’t totally boycott Google, but I do prefer search engines like Jux2 or Dogpile that combine results from several search engines. I don’t use Gmail, and I don’t have a Google account.

That last fact, that I don’t have a Google account, is the reason I haven’t switched. Google owns Blogger, and you must have a Google account to use the new Blogger.

Okay, reality check here. Am I going to duck Google forever? Of course not! I love that my blog comes up high on the first page of Google, and I love that Blogger is free of charge and ads are optional. Time to bite the bullet, focus my Attitude of Gratitude, open a Google account, and get with the program. In fact, if I want to go back and assign categories to old messages, I’d better get with the program pronto! The list is growing.

The above explanation doesn’t begin to do justice to my story of the psychic ravages of that novel, but it does give the bare bones. What about you? Did you read that novel? Did it shape your life? Have you written about your views on socio-cultural topics like personal privacy? These matters are at the core of what it means to be an American, a timely topic today that may continue to be of intense interest to your descendants as they consider the same questions.

Write on,

Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal

P.S. I did it. The change has been made.

1 comment :

a.m. said...

I have found, that despite my own academic/scholarly misgivings with Google (I am of course, a librarian), that I simply adore my Gmail account (and if you'd like an invite to open a Gmail address, just let me know, I have tons). I am not however, completely crazy over the idea of Google owning everything, much in the way that Microsoft has tried for the last 20 years. I am concerned about the amount of intrusion into my personal life, even with my 4 Gmail accounts, and there are days when I wonder if clicking on those little ads in my email will be collected and kept somewhere to be used against me in a court of law someday in the future (I am, of course, one of those 'radical, militant librarians'). It's worth becoming and staying concerned about, because only those of us who care enough to be concerned will ever be able to make sure it doesn't happen over and over again to future generations.

(Thanks for visiting my creative writing blog, by the way. Your comment was really very inspiring and thoughtful. Thank you so much.)