What should tech bloggers do? I was looking forward to Kathy Sierra's ETech presentation, and I wasn't even going to ETech. I just figured I'd download the podcast. There's a Wild Wild West element to the Internet, but that's no excuse. Is this just an inevitable side effect of being a blogebrity? Is it just a more sinister version of the comment I received the other day about my haircut?
Hollywood celebrities are pretty silly. Are bloggers doing the same thing? Are we headed the same way? Is it all just an inevitable side effect of holding the attention of a large group of people, that some members of that group will be people whose attention it's better not to have?
What can we do about it? How do we know a horror movie isn't happening right now?
One solution, ironically, might be more exposure. Imagine if Kathy filled her home with webcams and her friends and fans were watching those webcams. They'd see if anything bad happened. Crazy stalker comes in through the window, 911 gets flooded with calls. Is the solution to a few creepy people watching you a large number of friendly people watching you? This is the idea of The Transparent Society. It's a fascinating book, but it's kind of scary having such a compelling reason to think about the issues it raises.
I think it'd be very useful to have semi-public webcams. This is sci-fi, but imagine a social networking site where you had webcam feeds from all over your house, shared only with people you trust. Virtual shared space. Not just for women terrorized by evil stalkers; it'd also be useful for parents who want to keep an eye on their children, or senior citizens who wanted to live independently but not without backup. Useful for anyone, really, with fundamental human tribal instincts.
I doubt that'll make Kathy feel better, but there has to be some kind of solution.