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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.

1 Comment

  1. Smart move. I like to have some level of control too, so on my Day One with FB I set up various friend lists with each list having varying security levels. Depending on how I categorize an FB friend, some may see my phone number with others may not. Same with my address and other info.

    It’s so simple to set up, but I’m willing to bet 90% of FB users don’t bother.

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