Monday, September 10, 2012

social networks and other things that freak me out

i would like to start this post with the good news (ok, not really. i would like to start this post by talking about myself). i have officially decided to become a regular at the coffee shop a few blocks from my apartment. which is something i've always wanted to do but been hindered by the fact that coffee just does not do it for me. i occasionally indulge myself in an overly-sugared (and priced) Starbucks frappicino but, honestly, I don't even enjoy it. and i am up far too late if i drink it after, oh, 3 pm. i think i'm being a bit snobby, actually, staying away from coffee for so long. but if i'm going to be putting even more sugar than i usually do in my body, i want it to be combined with yeast (get it? booze?) because at least THAT doesn't keep me up at night. but this place is reasonably priced, locally owned, and has a really cheap breakfast ($1.50 for 2 waffles!). oh, and free wifi. the basis of it's appeal. so i'm now searching for the perfect non-coffee shop "regular drink." today? blackberry iced tea. verdict? too much sugar. but it's a good start.

another nice thing about being a regular is you can strike up friendships with the other regulars. but that takes time, so far all i've done is make up stories about them based on their appearances/snippets of idly overheard conversations. i don't eavesdrop much but sometimes i just can't help myself. which leads me to a my rumination of the day-how invasive can social media/networks become before too much is too much? i have recently read a few fairly alarming articles about how much of our lives are accessible to other people. and i'm not talking about the quiet girl in the coffeeshop corner. i mean people we're can not see, will never meet, and probably don't ever think about.

 which leads me to scary article review. this began with my daily perusal of jezebel, a website for the ladies. and by ladies, i mean girls who like feminism and celebrity gossip with a touch of news. a deadly combo. anyways, the article talked about how the Taliban is spying on US soldiers by making fake facebook profiles of pretty ladies and becoming their friends. which seems like something they should be wary of but i guess not everyone is obsessed with their privacy settings and having to know someone in real life before they know them on facebook. anyways, the article mentions how posted photographs led to the destruction of 4 brand new Apache helicopters because they uploaded pictures of them to facebook on their smartphones, and those pictures had GPS tags embedded in them. our tax dollars at work. just kidding. sort of. our tax dollars definitely didn't develop a social media making us obsessed with everyone we've ever met (and plenty of people we haven't) needing to know exactly where we are, all the time. the money coming from ads posted on facebook and gmail and everything else did. we did. but why do we think we need to know this? because we don't. don't people feel weird saying things like "oh, i saw on facebook that you checked into the Spot on foursquare?"
how shamelessly do we need to stalk each other?
and open the doors for everyone to stalk us? you can't filter that out, no matter what they tell you. if you don't want EVERYONE to know where you are, you have to be careful.
and that's scary. my phone call tell people where i am just from pictures? i would throw it away if i didn't love it so much.
and that's scary too.
what is the alternative? what can we do besides put it all on us to be careful and hope for the best?
can we make a new facebook that actually doesn't share our private information with companies and whoever else pays for it? can we make our phones tell us where we're going (i need that Maps feature!) without telling everyone else where we are? will people ever be able to stop being seen as commodities and find a place where we can just share pictures, updates, and friendship without having our interests exploited silently? i don't think i should have to get rid of my facebook and iPhone just because i don't want to share my personal information with whoever's pulling the strings. social media has so many good qualities, and it can be such a useful tool to those of us who chose to ignore the fact that we have no control over where our information goes. but i also don't know how much more invasive they can get. and i am scared to find out.  

here's some reading for you, just in case i haven't made you want to throw your smartphone out the window of a moving car (a decision you would regret immediately anyways).

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