When I was a kid living on a diary farm in Los Angeles, our telephone line was shared by four families. It was called a "party line".
The World Wide Web opened up social networking sites that expose us to each other's private worlds and fantasies. But, when I was a child we had the four line party line. I loved it! When my parents where in another room, I would quietly pick up the phone receiver. Suddenly, I'd hear a phone conversation between two people who where strangers. It was exciting! A glimpse into another personal world. Actually, I was too embarrassed to listen for more than a few seconds. Just to know that they were there - to know that I could hear them was enough. A bridge had been made between two private worlds. Today's technologies provide more and more tools to hear and see each other's private worlds. Even mainstream broadcast television offers "reality TV" - we can look in continuously the life of a family as they go about their days. Now, we've got lots of "party lines"!