I think we have an innate need to peer into other people’s lives. Some of it is healthy. We see activities and interests of our neighbors and friends and we compare. But some of it is unhealthy.
Why do paparazzi exist? Why do we see photos of intimate or compromising situations of famous and not so famous people? Because we buy the magazines and look at the websites with these photos
Why does reality television exist? Why can’t we live without watching dysfunctional families yell at each other? Why is the crudeness and lack of civility escalating each year? Because we watch.
Back as a kid mom had a weekly post in the local newspaper (the Clear Lake Courier) that was called Calling Around the Community. On one of the inside pages was tidbits of news from around the community.
Mom would spend time on the phone calling people for information about their lives and taking phone calls with people reporting about their lives. A typical entry would be like this – “Rev. & Mrs. Blumer hosted the Smith family for lunch on Sunday. Mrs. Blumer served fried chicken and mashed potatoes. The Blumer’s have four children at home and the Smith family have three children at home.” or “The Rev. & Mrs. Blumer family travelled to Colfax, ND to visit family over Thanksgiving. They left early morning on Thursday and returned Saturday night so Rev. Blumer could conduct Sunday services.
I remember in college a friend received the Eureka, SD weekly paper. We would read a similar type column and howl at some of the entries.
Now it seems bizarre to print such inane information about our lives in a newspaper – like what we would be eating for lunch or who we would go visiting. You mean like 95% of what we post on Facebook.