Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Okay, time to 'fess up!

by Don Keith

(While watching the Congressional testimony by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the inane questions from our elected representatives, I could not help myself. Now it appears likely that there will be some kind of legislation proposed for restricting social media in a new effort to protect us from ourselves. But can government legislate and keep people from doing dumb stuff?  Can they stop people from believing everything they read on Facebook, see on CNN or Fox News, or read in the National Enquirer while waiting to check out at Publix? 

Maybe the better question is, "Should they?"  Legislate, I mean. At any rate, all this pertains to rapid technological change and how it affects media and society.  Thus my post below.)

Okay, time to 'fess up. Raise your hand if:

- You had no idea that if you put on #Facebook your address, the names of your kids, the place where you are at this very second, or your opinions on the presidential race, your favorite football team, or whether or not you preferred cilantro in your salsa any of the 120 million Facebook users worldwide could see it instantly upon your hitting the POST button.

- You thought all this stuff was free, no strings attached and not only didn't know but didn't care how Facebook, #Instagram#YouTube#LinkedIn and all the others made money to pay for all this web design, expensive computer servers, bandwidth and all that technical stuff.

- You thought it was just a happy coincidence that if you went shopping for a mattress and box springs online that for the next two months, no matter the website you visited, you kept seeing ads for mattresses and box springs.

- You are unable to figure out why, if you printed out a map of and directions to Albuquerque, you suddenly started getting spam email and even actual paper junk mail from every hotel, auto rental agency and pizza parlor in Albuquerque.

- You never considered that if you post on #Facebook a cute picture of your 2-year-old child peeing off the deck onto the azaleas, it will one day show up when he is running for Congress or applying for a job at NASA.

- You always...ALWAYS...check the box declaring you have read and understood the 30,000-word privacy and data-use policy of every web site you have ever joined, every bank home page where you have an account, and every on-line vendor from which you have purchased something, all to facilitate whatever it is that you are trying to get done, and you simply have never had the time to even scroll down so much as a millimeter or read a single word of that legalese novella.

- You click on every link on every piece of email you get--apparently from your bank, your email provider, the IRS, a friend traveling in Ecuador who has been robbed, and even companies with which you have no account at all (just in case there really is something wrong because they wouldn't be emailing you if there wasn't) and happily give your user name, password, checking account and charge card number, Social Security number and blood type, just to make sure your checking won't be closed, your email blocked, your taxes audited, your friend incarcerated, or your vacation to the Bahamas cancelled...even though you have never had an account with those companies, only know the "friend" through Facebook, or never booked a vacation to the Bahamas in your life.

- You thought #Google was a philanthropic organization, providing all that search engine power out of the goodness of their hearts, and even put the very best results at the top and down the side of the listing on the page so you didn't even have to look any farther.

- You see no chance that that picture of you chug-a-lugging that bottle of Jagermeister or forwarding that hilarious ethnic joke will ever become an uncomfortable topic in a job interview.

- You are truly ticked off that this #MarkZuckerberg guy sold information about YOU to companies, surely without asking you first...and surprised that the guy even owns a tie and a dress shirt since you've never seen him in anything before but jeans and a tee shirt.

- You figure you are just unlucky when you buy that computer protection software you saw on some late-night infomercial in order to clean up your virus-ridden computer, laptop, smart phone, or on-line clothes dryer, yet the software is now telling you that you have to send them $59.95 a month for the rest of your natural life if you ever want to use your device again.

- It never occurred to you that if #Alexa or #Siri could hear you and know what you are asking or saying--even when you are not saying it to them--or if you use the free #WiFi at the tattoo parlor, anybody else could hear you or see what you are doing because it is RADIO!

- You spend more time posting pictures of your kids at soccer practice than you spend watching your kids practice soccer because you are so busy taking pictures and posting the pictures at soccer practice.

- You have shared posts with your friends that were so funny or inspirational or thought-provoking that you couldn't even remember sharing them when you got called into the boss' office to explain you are not a racist terrorist or to the principal's office to get expelled.

- You have more friends on Facebook or contacts in your #Linkedin profile than people you actually know by a hundredfold... but if anybody...even a semi-naked person named Zumbezi Gatalayana from South Sudan, who works at Sears in Miami and has an MBA from North Dakota State who just today created a #Facebook account featuring two pictures of herself, one in which she is white and one in which she is black...sends you a friend request, you are by-God going to accept it because she is certainly interested in your soccer pictures, your whereabouts, your recipe for salsa, and your kid peeing off the deck.

So? 'Fess up! Right there on #Facebook or on some other social media site, or share or forward this to everyone on your email or contact list. Only 120 million folks will know what a doofus you are!


Anonymous said...

Good article. I abandoned Facebook, Twitter, etc.. No longer read comments or comment myself to on-line news stories. No longer follow forums. I think you get my drift. Take less anti-acid medication since making that decision.

Don Keith N4KC said...

Anonymous, I suspect you are the exception rather than the rule. I do seem to hear of more people simply getting bored with social media and cutting or eliminating usage, but a lot of them come back to some extent.

And God's making more and more soon-to-be 'Bookers, Tweeters, and 'Grammers every day.