The Dignity of Risk and Social Media

In a story in the SMH this weekend about the role of location-powered social apps like Grindr, Blendr, Roamz and Foursquare I read:

‘While critics lament the next generation’s inability to make friends without a computer screen, Joel Simkhai, the American creator of Blendr and Grindr, thinks that in five years we may have twice as many friends because of his apps.

”I don’t think a hello and a handshake will become redundant. We come before that, so now it’s easier to initiate the conversation and then go say hello,” he said. ”In terms of breaking the ice, it goes a long way.”
Users have proved willing to accept the danger of people misrepresenting themselves in order to find friends in a society that has become busier, less sociable and, according to Mr Brechney, ”more boring”.

”I honestly think you get a richer experience talking about your life and typing away on your phone than you would in a loud club,” he said. ”The downside is that you have a lot of churn in your life with friends. It can become a bit of an eBay for love.’

The opening credits of the 1969 French film, Mississippi Mermaid (watch the trailer above) feature a reading of personal classified ads. I can’t but help think that the “eBay of love” has been around for quite some time, as well as the risks.

But in saying that, there is also a concept of Dignity of Risk:

Dignity of Risk refers to the right of all people to undertake some tasks that have a level of risk. It can be risky to go surfing as accidents can occur, but if you are a good swimmer, surf with a friend and check surfing conditions it is a reasonable risk to take.

All human activity has risk. Social media doesn’t necessarily change that and if people want to meet using an app rather than a classifieds ad, I’m not sure what the difference is?

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