Monthly Archives: April 2010

Paranoia Can Destroy Ya or What’s All This I’m Hearing About The Social Graph?

OK, so it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. To tell you the truth, I’ve been getting a little bit antsy about being here at all. Just when I was getting all comfy about social media like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare, Buzzd and even blogging, and feeling like I basically knew my way around the online landscape, I found myself getting weird little twinges from time to time. So what was wrong with being open and easy to locate on the web? Wasn’t it just a basic human need to feel connected to everyone else? It’s natural, right?

Natural? What’s natural about it?

Have you reviewed your privacy settings on Facebook lately? Maybe you’d better. And have you heard the term “Open Graph” yet? It’s the idea that we can all be connected online through our social connections. Facebook started out by telling us it was a portal for us all to connect to our friends. Well, it’s looking more and more as if Facebook is making some very aggressive moves to do a whole lot more than connect people to each other. Facebook now has the ability to amass a whole lot of personal data involving not only how you are connected to other people, but about how we are connected to things, tastes, activities, likes, dislikes, buying patterns, places — in short, everything. It’s making me nervous. It’s one thing to post a review about something on a website. But what if every time you did anything online, Facebook could tap into that?

When I was a little kid, one of  my favorite stories was Alexander Pushkin’s “The Fisherman and His Wife.” It was about a magic fish caught by a poor fisherman who granted all kinds of wishes in return for the fisherman letting it go. This fisherman had a super greedy wife who didn’t know when to stop, either. Kind of like a Ruth Madoff/Leona Helmsley type. The moral of the tale was not to be too greedy, lest you get nothing at all.  Too bad it didn’t work that way for Ruth or Leona. I am hoping, however, that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg may absorb the lesson before he finishes taking over the world.

I suppose it’s wrong to blame him. Didn’t our mothers warn us not to put anything in writing we wouldn’t want to see in the newspaper? But, wait a minute. Does anyone still read newspapers anymore? Being a Luddite is beginning to look a whole lot more attractive…


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