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Control.

I don’t know if you know this about me or not but I’m a bit of a control freak. I have a tendency to insist that things happen on my terms. I like to know what is happening when, where and why at all times. I even want to know the ‘how’. This tends to extend to all aspects of my life, including the geek side of things.

Facebook is all the rage right now. With a few simple clicks of the mouse and some pounding on the keyboard in the right places, I can virtually dial up a quickly growing number of people from my past and present and see what they’re up to and where they are in their life. I think this is a brilliant thing about social networking because it makes the world a little less global and in a way a little more intimate. I’m sure that my Facebook profile has shown my in-laws more about me than they thought they would ever know. I have found old high school friends that I had completely forgotten about. I recently also found out the details of another random person in public, and to me that’s kind of scary.

It was a year or so ago that Earl and I were at one of the Saranac Thursday nights. I commented to Earl that a gentleman standing not too far from us was kind of hot. He didn’t really agree with me (he wasn’t really Earl’s type) but he could see where I would think he was hot (it was because of his bold moustache, in case you’re wondering). I overheard a friend call him by his first name. It put a name to a face.

The other night I couldn’t sleep due to on-call and while I was waiting on hold for a certain telephone company to do something about the issue I was having, I was clicking around on in Facebook reading various profiles and the like. I remembered that name that went with a face and decided to do a search on his name and the city we live in. I now know his full name, his age (he’s 31), the fact that he is straight, has a girlfriend and is a single father and what types of music and television he likes. I also know that he was recently hired at a technology based company as a salesman. Had he not protected his profile to be completely viewed by his friends only, I would undoubtedly know his cell phone number and more about him.

To me this is a little bit out of my control barriers. And no, I wasn’t stalking the guy; I was testing a theory by using the two bits I know about the guy: his first name and what he looked like. I have done the same before with a waiter at Applebee’s.

I think Facebook is a great way for us to connect. I really do. But the service is free and yet it’s making tons and tons of money for the owners of the company. I believe they are doing this by data-mining and selling appropriate ads tailored specifically to you. This makes me a little nervous. I became even more nervous when I received a call yesterday telling me that my “fat whacker” like pills were on the way. I had no idea what the caller was talking about and asked where they got the idea that I wanted these pills. Their response?

“From Facebook.”

Um, no. This is where I draw the line. So after this blog entry, I am ceasing the automatic cross-posting between my real blog and my Facebook profile. If you want to see my real blog, you can gander at jpnearl-com and see what I’m up to, on my own terms and on my own server. My cell phone number on my profile has been modified to one that I can easily control (it’s my magic on how I do that).

I’m going to play the social networking game on my own terms.