Monday, October 17, 2005

and then there was Google...

I have always been amazed by the incredible amount of information you can gather from people on the internet. Once I googled myself and I was relieved to find that I have such a generic name that there are literally hundreds of listings that have nothing to do with me thereby giving me a sense of privacy. Then I googled my nickname and found links to my blog and a number of other things I have written. Shortly thereafter, my friend CH told me that if you google certain specific events the first links are about me or links to my photo album or even my blog.

As none of this information has ever damaged me in any way, I have never really cared about the fact that a good portion of my life is simply a click away. That was until last week.

My 3-D friends are in the habit of sending me stuff so that we can "stay connected". In my book, if you have my email address and my phone number you are as connected to me as you can get; however, some people need to feel more connected than that and so they usually send me invites to every "get connected site" there is so I humor them. At my friends' requests I have joined
hi5, my space, a small world, friendster, where are you now? and I am sure I am missing one but I can't remember what it is. Normally, I don't add strangers and because I keep my buddy lists limited to my 3-D friends I don't usually get any surprises.

Last week, I received an email from someone I used to know back in High School.

I don't have any issues with my past or any nasty memories or anything like that. As a matter of fact, I had a very pleasant HS experience; however, that was my past and I put it behind me and I have never been interested in reliving it or dwell on it. It was really weird for me to
run into J last summer, and I didn't expect to run into anyone else or even have to think about anyone else until my HS reunion. This definitely changed my plans.

So this guy I used to know wrote to me last week after he found me online. He remembered me pretty damn well whereas I had to look at his profile picture in 100 different ways and then ask him his last name before I knew who he was. I was polite, I wrote him back. I made small talk. I thought that would be the end of that.


One of the joys of small town living though is that everyone knows everything about everyone and one incident creates a chain reaction.

On Friday, I received another email. This time the email was from a HS friend. In a way I was glad to hear from her and I recognized her name immediately; however, it was hard to catch up because there are 9 years of nothing in between. She has since moved to NY and built a nice little life for herself but in her writings I see that she has not moved on from her small town ways and I can't find a way to relate to her. My experiences may have turned me into a snob.

Today, I received yet another email. One of the girls I used to smoke with in the bathroom (yeah, I was one of those girls) decided to keep in touch. That was weird because we were never close to begin with and because we had J related issues back then and although that obviously means nothing now, in trying to remember the way we were that just keeps coming back to me.


I feel overwhelmed by it all. I've gone from wanting to delete my profile from each and everyone of these services as well as my photo albums and even this blog to having to come to terms with the fact that the past will catch up with me sooner or later. The thing is that I don't know why I care so much. To an extent I feel like my privacy has been invaded but I can't think that because I put myself out there.

How can we keep a sense of privacy in a world where information has become more and more accessible?

I used to have issues with Google Earth...I think that the realm of my issues is expanding in a whole new way...

11 comments:

Grant said...

If I had known you felt so strongly about your privacy, I never would have installed all those hidden cameras in your bedroom. Ha ha. I'm probably joking.

Stop frowning like that. There, that's better. :p

WonderCorky said...

sometimes... you don't have much of a choice.. I have had applicants come in with things they googled on me prior to an interview..

thank goodness none of the nudes were in it.. just the conspiracy theories I have... and more of my wittiness....

I am witty... I am witty... I am witty and flitty and hey...wait a minute.. I am not flitty... I just don't having anything ...

sorry

Peace

WC

Jonas said...

i have three half-sisters and one of them is a terp. in fact, when I was a little kid still living in NY I went to the campus. Thanks google.

K said...

this elvis guy comes up when i google my name. Dangit!

The Assimilated Negro said...

It is a tough dilemma you pose. I have google problems also.

Deleting all your online portfolios/portals/windows seems extreme. But also seems like the only real solution considering the ease and effectiveness of search engines these days.

I guess it's becoming a more significant choice every person has to make.

You can also just ignore any people who pry. If that's the extent of it. Choose to be less nice and accomodating.

Ailyn said...

is there even any privacy left in the world?

Bob W. said...

I recently became aware of 2 old High School buddies that I have not seen or heard from since 1972. Good I guess, But it does get odd at times. I don't quite get what it is to be located thru the internet. Not sure if I care for it or not. The Jury is still out.

mw said...

I was horrified when I found out that our county puts the sale price of homes in a database on the web. I know that you could always look that up at the courthouse, but my small circle of friends is far too lazy to do that. But the ability to check out my mortgage from the comfort of your la-z-boy, that could actually happen.

JudgeG said...

Ha ha! privacy.. We net people have none.. well, none really. :)

Nice site!

cheers!
JG

vicpichardo said...

the internet's done nothing but good to me. helps me meet musicians, tennis players, friends i want to be contact with, family, etc. helps me move my music around. if i don't want to respond to somebody i don't. just like if somebody calls me i don't have to pick up. eventually they stop trying.

the gov. knows what you buy, when, where you shop, your financial affairs, your health, etc. that's scarier to me.

Libélula said...

Man...I made the mistake of making my MSN Prifile Public and now i'm getting tons of invites from people I have never ever met in my life. Since I don't really know all of my friends' e-mails, I sometimes accept the invitation only to find out it's from someone that just "found my profile interesting".

Before, I would have just block/delete the user, but did you know there's a page where you can actually find out if someone's really online or not? I dunno, I guess I think i'd be mean or something to block them and then they finding out about it...