In "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" the Mad Hatter was in all probability mad indeed. Victorian hatters spent their working lives inhaling mercury the use of which was a necessary process in curing beaverskin for men's hats, the consequent heavy metal poisoning leading to paranoia and insanity. In a strange, paradigmatic twist, the San Francisco Chronicle today reports an unprecedented rise in mercury levels in Pacific seabirds, speculating on the consequent rise of mercury in the food chain and acknowledging that its effects cannot be predicted with any certainty.
By analogy, the Internet is becoming all-pervasive and ubiquitous - people know where we are and what we're doing as if we all live in a village again, our privacy has been surrendered as well as our cultural identity, eliciting a cold shiver of paranoia. Facebook has 600 million members and the gravitational momentum on the human psyche of such pervasive, rapid and far-reaching technological invasion cannot be calculated with any certainty - we may all be driven mad by the technological equivalent of mercury poisoning.