We all know how annoying it is to go onto YouTube to watch a video and have an advertisement load up before watching. I usually will mute the advertisement, or click the “skip to video” button right away when given the option. But for some reason, when this video came up, I hesitated to click the “skip to video” button. In fact, I didn’t even mute my computer. Yes, that’s right, I watched the entire video. All 1 minute and 32 seconds of it.
An advertisement by Google Chrome, “Dear Sophie” tells the story of a father who contributes to his daughter’s digital dossier by documenting her life. How? By sending her emails filled with video and photo attachments of important milestones in her life, beginning with her birth. It’s heartwarming and it’s touching. But most of all, it’s a story that is relevant to our time.
So much of our lives are played out irreversibly online, and from such a young age, that we must be careful that we are not allowing our information we place online to dictate who we are, and instead letting who we are dictate the information we place online.
Steven Leckart, of the Wall Street Journal, though “ torn between wanting to offer [his ]son a tabula rasa, and tapping the efficient, frictionless nature of digital tools to share him with family and friends,” has decided to take the opposite approach of Sophie’s father, opting to raise a “Facebook-free baby.”
I believe that I stayed to watch “Dear Sophie” for the same reason that I enjoy going on Facebook—it tells me a personal story that allows me to feel connected to a certain individual. However, how much should a stranger be able to tell about our lives? As Leckart says, we live in “a world that subscribes to online existence as the ultimate decider of truth.” I am likewise constantly struggling to find the balance between using my “authentic voice” to tell my story, while not revealing too much that it will compromise my being and/or turn away those who may be interested in hearing what I have to say. What we have been tasked with is definitely not an easy thing. But I believe, as Leckart does, that “there’s got to be a happy medium.” And after all, as Google Chrome states at the end of “Dear Sophie,” the internet truly is what you make of it.
What do you think? What’s your happy medium?