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Screaming into the (not so) empty void

10 July 2012

I just watched “The Facebook Obsession” on CNBC with my wife. And while it’s amazing how quickly Facebook has grown, and the story behind it is obviously interesting enough to merit a big-budget Hollywood film, the history of the site wasn’t what I found interesting. No, what fascinated me was the controversy over privacy.

In short, I don’t get it. Each Facebook user is responsible for what he or she posts to Facebook. Account privacy settings notwithstanding, I rarely post anything I would be ashamed for anyone to see. If Facebook uses that data to try and sell me stuff, so what? It’s my choice whether I want to pay attention to the ads or not, just like TV (or anywhere else on the Web, really). If Facebook collects data about things I like or sites I’ve visited through them… again, so what?

Maybe there’s something here I’m not seeing. If one conducts oneself as a halfway decent human being on the Internet, where’s the problem? (Seriously, I’m asking — I miss plenty of stuff).

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 10 July 2012 1148

    I don’t get it, either. Tomorrow’s my last day at my current job and the new job…I got it, in part, because of my online presence. My manager admitted that he looked me up on Google and that he liked what he saw. Even with privacy settings, I figure, “It’s the Internet and there are times it…doesn’t work as planned.” So even if shooting heroin and proving I’m hardcore by posting photos of me shooting heroin behind a privacy filter on some social media site, I’m going to assume that SOMEBODY behind the scenes at the company can see it, or…that one day some techie will accidentally flip a switch and all the filtered things will be public. Once Gizmodo and others pick up on it, there would be a race by nosy people to see what I do behind the scenes (“Damn, Chris is kinda…boring…”).

    Even if private, I don’t have things I’m embarrassed about, but…I don’t feel the need to share every aspect of my life. So it doesn’t bother me. I know that if I talk about a friend divorcing or something through Gmail that I will see ads for divorce lawyers, even though I have been with my wife 20 years and plan to do that at least a couple more more times before I die. Same thing with Facebook…I reply about something — I know I’ll see an ad along the topic of conversation.

    So I’m with you…I don’t get the big deal. You don’t have to use Facebook. While I know there are conspiracy theorists who would argue that I’m wrong, but if you want privacy, send an actual letter to someone, or meet up in a field and, ya know, talk. (I know, I know…the US Post Office scans and reads all our mail, and even in a pasture, the drones are listening…)

    (Oh, and just between us…don’t use Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil when making your caps…they have a contract with the government and have no blocking integrity anymore…)

    • 10 July 2012 1314

      Velostat. 3M makes it. Apparently, it’s the material of choice for thought-blocking helmets. 😉

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