At What Point is Public Curiosity too Much?

By Cole Buergi, Senior Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Several “breaking news” stories of late have me asking how much is too much information? Coupled with that question is, “When is enough, enough?”

I’m specifically referring to the killing of Osama bin Laden by United States Navy Seals and the revelation that former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child with his housekeeper while married to Maria Shriver.
Although completely unrelated in both scale of importance and impact to humanity, both have one thing in common, curiosity seekers wanting to know every last detail and to see photos. Whether it’s a photo of bin Laden’s body or the most recent clamoring by many in the public wanting to see a picture of Schwarzenegger’s child, people are becoming very demanding for wanting every last detail. Equally troubling is the demand for the information immediately and what seems to be a preference for “as it happens.”
There are some strong arguments on both sides of the coin for releasing or keeping private the photos of bin Laden, but now many in the public eagerly want to see Schwarzenegger’s child. Why? He’s a minor that has a right to his privacy and not be hounded by curiosity seekers.

I’m left wondering – is the information frenzy the result of the Internet and social media? Have today’s technologies created a global society that is unsettled unless they get instant and complete gratification for their every desire? Has social media provided too strong a voice for small, fringe groups that are curiosity seekers?
Yes, curiosity seekers have been around since the dawn of time, but has social media allowed them to band together to create a strong enough voice that people are listening?
It’s important to note that I’m a huge fan and active user of social media. It offers useful tools for business as well as staying in touch with friends and family. But like almost every technology, there can be a downside.

Do you agree or disagree? I’m “curious” to know your thoughts.