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When George Orwell wrote about a society controlled by the all seeing ‘Big Brother’ in his classic novel “1984,” most people wrote it off as nothing more than the fantastic reaches of an innovative mind.  In our current climate of technological advances, information gathering and increased governmental intrusion into our daily lives, it’s beginning to look like Orwell might not have been as far off the mark as we thought.


Social networking has become a reality of most people’s daily lives and it can be a powerful tool.  It can help to connect people on both the personal and professional levels, bringing together far flung groups who share a common interest and helping people make contacts that can ultimately further their careers.  There’s nothing to worry about there, right?


On the surface, the answer is no, especially if the experience is handled correctly.  But there is a fine line between this type of benign social networking and using our online interactions to control what we see and hear while we’re online, what kind of products are developed and offered and, on a larger scale, how policy is set in order to drive society in a predestined direction.  This is where we enter the realm of social engineering and this is where it gets downright scary.


Some may pooh-pooh the notion that big business or government or some combination of the both is trying to run our lives but, in fact, if you look closely you’ll see that this is legitimately being put into practice.  It starts on a small scale, for instance those ads that pop up in your Facebook feed for products or websites that you may have visited recently.


That’s a simple marketing tool, picking up on the interests of the general web community to provide useful products, but it doesn’t stop there.  In recent years, we’ve seen corporations and government groups gleaning information from various online sources and using it to develop, in essence, a profile of the average citizen.  They then develop products, create technology and form legislation that they think will give us the kind of society we need.


Think about that…they, whichever specific ‘they’ it might be, are dictating your life to you.  Is that really the kind of society we want to live in?  Do we really want our freedom of choice taken away from us like that?  The good news is there’s an easy way to curtail this…simply be more aware of what kind of information you’re sharing and with whom you are sharing it and be more discriminating.


Ultimately it is your life and the ability of any other individual or group to influence it is up to you.  If we all take a more active role in protecting our personal information we can stem the tide of social engineering and take back our society.  It’s up to you to keep ‘Big Brother’ out of your business.

Widely-used color photograph depicting a scene from Orwell's movie, 1984, where people are divided on the left and right and they are looking at the movie screen where the leader is talking propaganda.

Social Networking vs. Social Engineering

Some may pooh-pooh the notion that big business or government or some combination of the both is trying to run our lives but, in fact, if you look closely you’ll see that this is legitimately being put into practice.  

ARTICLES | BY K.K.BROWN

SEPT 2, 2016

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CONVENTION OF STATES PROJECT

“The founders inserted this alternative method of obtaining constitutional amendments because they knew the Congress would be unwilling to give attention to many issues the people are concerned with, particularly those involving restrictions on the federal government's own power.  The founders foresaw that and they provided the convention as a remedy.  If the only way to get that convention is to take this minimal risk, then it is a reasonable one.”

Excerpt from American Enterprise Institute’s Panel Discussion on Article V with Panelist Antonin Scalia (1979)

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