Thursday, June 07, 2007

Let's give 'em something to talk about

Tell it all - to everybody
WORLD WITHIN / Let's give 'em something to talk about

Ariel Troster / Capital Xtra / Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pierre Trudeau's famous comment about the state having no place in the bedrooms of the nation seems rather antiquated these days, given that so many of us are sharing information on the Internet that earlier generations of queers saw as private.

It seems I can't go to a party or get on a bus or grab a cup of coffee, without hearing the word "Facebook" anymore. Embraced for a couple of years by university students primarily in the US, the highly sophisticated (and extremely addictive) social networking website has been grabbing hold in Canada, especially among the tech-savvy arts and activist sets. Within Ottawa's queer community, it only reinforces the one-degree of separation between most of the people we cruise on dating sites, meet at community events, and march in demonstrations with.

There's no denying that this kind of "over-sharing" fosters community. In the last few days, I've received invitations to barbecues and block parties, been informed of protests being planned for George Bush's August visit to Canada, and stayed up-to-date on a friend's bathroom renovations. This is not to mention the daily updates of who's been hooking up and breaking up. And sites like Facebook have become impromptu gathering places after communities experience tragedies, like the Virginia Tech massacre, the recent high school shooting in Toronto, and closer to home, the beating of Ottawa drag queen Dixie Landers.

But like many people over the age of 25, I initially found the tell-all nature of these websites a little scary. I mean, did I really want to be contacted by the person I sat beside in high school band? And do people really care what I'm eating for lunch or the fact that my cat just puked in the hallway?

Read the rest of my latest column for Capital Xtra here.

And feel free to leave comments here or on xtra.ca. Do you think we're sharing too much information on the internet? Does this help or harm the queer rights movement? Does it bring us closer together or does too-much-information drive us apart?

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