Get Off My Cloud

I was thinking about privacy today. There is a much talk about Facebook (or any other internet entity that has a social focus) and the controversy surrounding your privacy. I guess most people aren’t aware that there are a litany of options for you when it comes to sharing your data on Facebook. You can open yourself up to the entire world or you can make everything private. I don’t necessarily view Facebook as being mis-leading to its gazillions of users about privacy, I view the gazillions of users who don’t take the time to seek out their privacy options as……..lazy, I guess.

Oh, there is grand debate about your privacy settings when you first sign up – some may say that Facebook should make ALL of your data private from the get-go.  But they don’t. Or that they should make the privacy options easier to understand. But they don’t, really. I’ll let you guess why. It starts with an M and it ends with a Y. They need dinner, too, you know. That’s why those ads you see on the right side of the page are so eerily accurate when it comes to your interests. They are accurate most of the time, any way. Nobody is perfect.  So why is everyone so spooked? I don’t think the Facebook ads are that invasive. Sometimes I laugh at the targeting. But other times I’m pretty impressed that a lot of the advertising is stuff I am actually interested in. I can tell you that I, as a marketer, have bought these ads for the company I work for and I’ve been largely happy with the results.

Yes, privacy in the age of the internet has gotten much looser and there is potential for more impact. You can’t argue that one. There’s a lot of info about you out there. I remember as a wee lad, we used to pull the old ’79 Mercury Cougar up to the Fotomat. Kids of the ’70s and ’80s, you surely remember this little place! Oh, you don’t? Well, look here. When I say little, I mean little. We used to pull the car up and drop off and pickup our photos. Of course, as a kid I  never gave much thought to privacy, but let’s face it, as far back as forever your privacy has been exposed to many people of all stripes, including those high schoolers who worked at Fotomat that could see all your family pictures. Just imagine some of the stuff THEY saw! Or think about this – in the early age of the telephone, operators could sit there and listen to your every word. Don’t forget that. Having your privacy exposed is not some new-fangled issue. It’s just become more of a target with the explosion of the internet – there is clearly more on the line.

So the whole privacy thing? A concern for sure, but let’s not get all overheated about it. Do the work to protect yourself – websites aren’t going to do it for you. If you are at all suspicious, then simply don’t participate. Like Gene Simmons said, “if you don’t like it, then don’t listen to it.” And I hate Gene Simmons.

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Robot Probe

Somewhere on the interwebs in the last year two I wrote something about New Years Resolutions. I don’t make them every year – and for good reason – I usually don’t feel the need to. Now, let me be clear: setting goals for one’s self is fine. After all, we live in a world where you need to strive for something, otherwise you’ll likely find yourself listless, floating around. Hopefully we all have goals, be it personal or professional. But I don’t necessarily need to sit down with pen and paper, stroke my chin and pontificate every year on January 1 about what I need to do in the next 12 months. I don’t need calendar dates to strive for things, I guess. I’m working towards something all the time. That being said, I’ve made resolutions before. Last year at this time, for some whacked out reason, I felt the need to make three of them and I said on Facebook (or was it Twitter? Or my blog?) that I would reveal them at the end of 2010. Well, here we are, the end of 2010 and here they are (were?)

1. To get a new job. Which I did. I don’t need to go into details – you can read my blog back in February and March for the details. Ask.com was a great place to work. I dearly miss the people I worked with on a daily basis, for the most part. But it was time. It was also absolutely the right move, beyond any doubt. The new job (is it still new?) provides lots of challenges (and rewards) and I’m glad I made the move. It is a complete shift in so many ways (cultural, structural….the works) and it really woke me up in ways I think I’m still discovering.

2. To be more patient. Can’t say I accomplished this one. I really really wanted to, though. I am, historically, a fairly impatient person. I don’t like it at all and I suppose I have nobody to blame but myself. I’d love to place ALL the blame on the fact I’m in the first generation of people who grew up with so many options for truly instant gratification (cable TV, the excesses of the 1980s, mobile phones, blah blah blah) but in the end I’m the one who has to do the work to improve this. Before you get any pictures in your head, I’m not some fiery yelling type. I’ve never punched a wall. Never fought. I never yell. I occasionally slam my hockey stick on the bench, but that happens maybe once every two years. I’m more a brooder than a yeller. I was thinking that having twins would force me to become more patient, but I’m not sure that has happened. I’m here to tell you that having two 3 year olds will test your patience…..and then some. I am my own harshest critic, so I think I can do better. By the way,  I don’t think I’m less patient then before having kids, I’m just the same. Impatient. I don’t need New Year’s to convince me it needs work, so I’m calling this one a work in progress.

3. To start weightlifting again. Let me paint the picture for you – I’m not striving to have veins popping out of my pectorals. I mean, have you seen me? Hello. But I do miss the weights. And I do notice the difference. And I WILL start again. But I didn’t get to it this year. Now, for this I have a completely legit excuse – I spent a lot of the year with ailments that prevented me from doing it meaningfully. For much of the year I had a goofed up elbow that would have become much worse had I done any kind of regiment on weights. For the initial six months of 2010, I was also battling a shoulder ailment that really sidetracked me. I even had x-rays and rehab on it. Both seem better now, so the only thing that appears to be stopping me from picking it up again is time – and I will find it. Now, the question begs itself – had I continued doing weights over the last 1-2 years, would these ailments have even happened? Of course, impossible to say, so I can’t subject myself to wondering.

So…..I hit .333. There’s two ways to look at it. If I’m a baseball player, I’m an All-Star hitter. If I’m taking a school test, it’s an F. I guess the true answer is somewhere in between.

2011 – I’m going to go back to not having resolutions. And away we go.

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