Does privacy matter to you? It does to me.
That’s why I find it annoying, and not at all comforting, or helpful, or efficient, if I’ve “Googled” a question—“Why can’t Americans produce really creamy chocolate?”—to come back in ten minutes and find that everywhere I go on the Internet, ads for chocolate pop up.
Privacy. This is one of a number of reasons I continue to have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. Yes, I probably get too analytical about the weird use of the word “like” and the devaluing of the word “friend,” an amazingly elastic word even before Facebook stretched it to the breaking point.
And, if you look up the definition of “narcissism” (a good word pointing to a bad affliction, and a word I’d vote onto the list of hardest-to-spell words in English), I’d not be surprised to find under the definition: “see Facebook.”
Facebook can be so much fun, and so incredibly annoying. I’m worried about me (see “narcissistic”) when I find myself liking it or disliking it too much. It deserves neither. I do know this: If the idea of not signing on for a few days makes me short of breath, I very badly need to take a “media fast” and unplug for a time. (The same principle applies to Instagram, Twitter, or any of the other cyber-offerings that we allow to own us as cyber-twits.
But among my other visceral responses to Facebook (and just about everywhere else we go on the Internet) are the privacy concerns. I just clicked on “Places” on my Facebook page and was not particularly pleased to find that a number of the “places” where I’ve been in the last few months were listed there.
Nope, now shame on you for thinking that I’m talking about 20 pins marking visits to Billy Bob’s Bar, Bait, & Booze Joint or Nana Peel’s Birthday Suit Burlesque. I did not visit those places. But Facebook helpfully tells me how many times I’ve been to nearby cities, hospitals, and restaurants. Thanks? Are the “places” supposed to appeal yet again to my narcissism? I want people to know I’ve been there because it’s cool to go there? I won’t hold my breath.
I was glad to find that my “page” is evidently set so that the “Places” tab is visible only to me. But I’d be happier if Facebook didn’t know, either. Where I’ve been is none of their business.
By the way, if you’re on Facebook (and this is just one of a bunch of privacy issues involved), you might want to check your “Places” setting. If you don’t want your “tracking” information visible to everyone who has access to your page, then in the Facebook app on your mobile device, click on the “Check In” pin, and tell it to “Turn Off Location Services.” (That will not turn off your GPS on the mobile device.)
But by far the most dangerous places we go have nothing to do with the Internet or Facebook. They’re in our own heads. Self-centeredness. Hatred. Bitterness. Envy. Cynicism. Lust. Vanity. Greed.
If our Facebook pages showed where we truly have been, and how many times, I hope places like Joy, Beauty, Love, Gratitude, Forgiveness, Mercy, Laughter, and Worship would show up most often.
You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!
Copyright 2015 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.