Today I'd like to write about something that has nothing to do with photography, but everything to do with how the social-networking thing is panning out. Last week I logged into my facebook account to find out that it has my personal landline and mobile numbers on full display to everyone who is linked to my account. I remember a month or so ago being asked to provide them as a matter of security, and once I'd given them, kind of hit my head and thought - duh - why did I do that?
The thing is, why am I so mistrustful of Facebook?
Well, there are a few reasons:
1. Most of it is invasive. Did you know by default, it sends out invites to folks in your email address book?
2. Their user interface makes it hard to switch stuff off, which by default, should be off anyway.
3. I deleted my personal account several months ago. Oh, I think it was March I did it. Friends told me that it would be deleted after 2 weeks anyway, but I was able to log back into it a few weeks ago, and it was magically re-activated.
The same with Linked-In. I deleted my linked-In account, because I felt it did not represent me anymore, and I'm more aware of public profile than I ever have been. Yes, we all have a public profile whether you know it or not. But I still get 'invites' to Linked In. I don't think they're 'Invites', because an invitation has the option of saying 'no'. Linked-In Invitations give you the option of accepting, or waiting for a reminder to accept, and if not, a reminder later on to accept, and then another reminder to accept......
So I'm a little tired of the invasion. It's invasive. There is no etiquette.
When I worked in IT years ago, you had a choice. There was a way you could decline, but I feel these companies are giving you one choice: sign up and be on their records forever.
If you have a facebook account, go in and check if your mobile number and landline numbers are available. You can also check who has given their numbers out for the public. Here's how to do it:
Go to 'Account / Edit Friends'. Once there, you will see on the far left hand side a 'contacts' list with a mobile phone icon. Clicking on this will give you a list of everyone who has given you public access to their phone numbers.
I would so love to show you a picture here of all the people on my facebook account. Every one of them has given their phone numbers, and I could show you a screen shot of it - but it's not appropriate for me to do that.
I'd like less invasion, and I'd like these companies to stop treating me as some form of information that I have no right to decide how I am represented or recorded.
By the way - I just logged in again, and I see that I have Steve McCurry's phone number. Brilliant. I'm sure he'll be really pleased to hear from me :-)
Why work with something like Facebook, if it can't be trusted to work with your details and keep your information private?