Tuesday 4 May 2010

Facebook unwittingly The Truman Show II

Booking an about face

In the last two days I have read about the dangers Facebook poses to my privacy and life. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook has its uses and it has reconnected me with lots of old friends, colleagues and acquaintances.

Beyond that, I have wondered about my readiness for the torrent of the past that overwhelms you as one connection leads to another to another to another till memories long forgotten revive with almost nightmarish consequences like a genie that has been let out of the bottle and in the process broken the bottle never to return to captivity.

The articles I read were one giving reasons to quit Facebook [1] and the other about committing Facebook suicide [2], hara-kiri to give it the exoticism of Japanese.

Only me, only one, only I

After reading the first, I started to close down sections of my museum of the absurd, the exposure I had unwittingly allowed by default was way beyond comfortable and I started to click away at privacy settings and making a good deal Only Me, must less to Friends, the basics to Friends of Friends and the barest minimum to Everyone.

A few week ago, I found a tool that allow me view a good deal of Facebook detail without being logged in, I should have known, but without getting to technical, I like solutions and especially software solutions and applications to imitate life.

In life, I have control

For instance, I can choose not to have my telephone number and address listed in a phone book, it means no one can randomly pick up the telephone guide for my city and find me, for all sorts of reasons – so on Facebook now, if you do not find me through another Friend, you will not find me.

In my home, I have doors, rooms and utility areas, friends are welcome to visit and they would be entertained in my living room, they would normally not be in my kitchen except when we have decided to be there and definitely not be in my bedroom except if they are visiting as guests – in which case, they would have my guest room.

I would be concerned if my friends, talk less of strangers were rifling through my cupboard and like draws out of drawers, even familiarity breeding contempt would not go that far.

In the open without clothes

That is where I have a problem with Facebook, you are a ready material for global voyeurism, your so-called home on Facebook has not walls, no doors, no windows, you are in full view, your living area just as exposed as your bed and your underwear – your secrets are public property – in fact, you unwittingly in The Truman Show [3] with the crassness of Big Brother [4] entertainment over which you have as much control as a prisoner in jail.

The cameras are focused on every bit of information you put there and if you are not technically savvy, someone has got your number and probably more.

Suddenly, you realise you want something called privacy, your own business being yours alone and a few secrets to take away that unpalatable aura of predictability that people know your history better than you that your identity has gone on an adventure long before you stepped out of your door.

Get back in the closet

I am not asking you to get off Facebook, but start slamming some doors, closing some rooms, locking your cupboards and keeping your linen out of view.

For once get back in the closet where you can secretly pleasure yourself without the fear of someone looking – surely, we all want a secret place for peace, quiet, tranquillity and discretion – the open book I had become on Facebook in the space of just over 4 months was frightening enough.

I am not yet committing hara-kiri but I do have the cyanide capsule ready for what might be the inevitable if Facebook does not begin to respect the fact that the last vestige of individuality is to have complete control on my privacy, I should be opening the doors to let people in, not finding out that the wind has blown off my doors, windows and roof as I scramble to keep life and property from total annihilation and destruction.


[1] rocket.ly - Blog - Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook

[2] Contemplating FaceBook Hara-Kiri | Tech Broiler | ZDNet.com

[3] The Truman Show - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[4] Big Brother (TV series) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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