Sunday, February 1, 2009

Internet Introspection

A combination of recent online experiences made me pause and think for a bit. One was where I was suspiciously unsubscribed from Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers newsletter for a third time after writing about her for the third time. Another was an out-of-the-blue email I received from someone I worked with fifteen years ago. Don't get me wrong, it was great to hear from him. But he found me by searching for the moniker my wife created for me many years ago--gigowiz. At Christmas time an old friend of mine asked me to create a FaceBook account and use it as another means of keeping in touch. I did, but I refrained from adding all the personal info about me. It could probably be found elsewhere but I just didn't see a need to add that information especially since my FaceBook friends are quite likely people who know me already. And then there was Twitter. I created an account back in December and said, "What do I do now?" I didn't know so I just let it sit there. After a month or so of tweeting dormancy I got an email from another Twitter user who decided to follow me and provided a link so I could follow them. And I wondered, do I need or should I have that much of an online presence? For now the tweeting concept still eludes me and I'm not so sure I want to catch it.

Top that off with this recent article entitled The Unforeseen Consequences of the Social Web. The author provides a variety of methods--and plenty of links to examples--of how our online presence can affect us.

Maybe egosurfing is the wrong term to use--unless you're really searching for yourself out of vanity--but it might be something we should do just to see what we could find. How much privacy do you have? Well--the answer we all love to hate--it depends. It's tough to erase your tracks. In some cases there are records that go way back.

So you really need to talk to your kids about this before they get too into it.

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