Thursday, January 29, 2009


A lot of people ask me why I'm not on MySpace or Facebook. T.M.I. Too Much Information! Actually, I'm not on MySpace because I don't want to end up on Dateline NBC talking with Chris Hansen. So why am I not on Facebook, or Linkedin, or Twitter, or Flickr or the thousand other "networking" websites out there? Well, how many websites do I really need to be managing? I've already got this blog, my YouTube page, not to mention three e-mail addresses which is enough to keep me busy for at least an hour in the morning.

Maybe I'm turning into one of those conspiracy theorists that thinks the government is watching my every move and knows where I am. No, I don't care if the government knows where I am (because I already know they're watching me). But, I do care if some psycho I've never met gets on my Facebook page and sees that I'm going on vacation for 5 days. Say you use Facebook, and you also use Whrrl, which lets you cross-post to the microblogging platform Twitter. Then Twitter gets piped to all sorts of other places. So you update your location in Whrrl, the message goes to Twitter, then to Facebook, then your blog, the next thing you know, your home address is on your Facebook page, where you just told the world you're leaving for 5 days.

My iPhone automatically embeds geodata into photos, which means each picture has the exact latitude and longitude at which it was taken. So let's say I took a picture of my new flat screen television, my new $4,0000 mountain bike, and my brand new car and uploaded them to Flickr (a popular photo sharing website). Now, if the same psycho on Facebook saw that I was leaving for 5 days, he could, with just a few clicks, get driving directions right to my place. A few more clicks and he could have a pair of gloves and some lock picking tools shipped right to my house.

One of my favorite hobbies is mountain biking. So let's say I call in sick for work in favor of enjoying a nice summer day, not that I would ever do such a thing. Then, I decide to post this cool new route I found online for others to see. Now everyone, including my boss, can see that I was out mountain biking at noon on Thursday instead of working.

I guess it's a question of privacy. I know I don't want strangers knowing that I'm going to be leaving my house unattended for a week. But do I really want everyone to know where I'm having lunch today and with whom? Not really, by the way, today I'm having lunch at home by myself. Come on over!


Dana said...

Okay Paul, you do have some valid points, but I'd like to point that YOU are in direct and full control of who you accept as a friend on Facebook and what information you allow friends to see and what you post.

Maybe you limit to those you've know for say, 10 years or more, for example. Not to say that one of your "friend" couldn't go crazy down the line and, well, who knows.

Mostly I only tease a bit because it's such a pop culture place right now, it will be over soon enough. For myself, I've made some invaluable re-connections on facebook over the last few months and I keep my page pretty light and fun with a spash of shameless business PR work.

By the way, know anyone looking to buy or sell a house? I need business and I've become a darn good Realtor!

Your friend, in the real world only,


Nancy Holte said...

You must get that conspiracy theory thing from your little brother. I'm with Dana. You are in full control of what you upload, say, and friendship choices on FB. All you need to do is filter your words and photos!