Finished editing really long podcast file, need to take a break. About 17 hours ago. Drove to band practice, listened to Minutemen CD in the car. "Tour spiel!" About 14 hours ago.
Gotta write my column. But what to write about? Wait, I know! Less than 20 seconds ago.
Well that's enough Twittering for now. Oh, you don't know what Twittering is? It's the latest in utterly self-indulgent Web 2.0 fun.
At Twitter.com, millions of people are constantly answering one question: What are you doing right now? It's sort of like a blog but without all of that, you know, actual content.
As I look at Twitter.com right now, some of the fascinating content includes a person going to get Indian food, someone waiting to get into a breakfast joint and a guy who has just signed up for DirecTV. Wow! What will happen next?
I have to admit that Twitter is one of those things that makes me feel like an old fogy. Even though I'm a cutting-edge, tech kinda guy, the whole constant-connection thing is one that just doesn't connect with me.
But I can definitely understand why this is a hit with the younger crowd. Every sub-25-year-old that I know is constantly on his or her cell phone, and the subject of 99 percent of the calls is similar to Twitter's content: "Hey, whatcha doin?" "Nothing, what are you doing?" "Watching Futurama." "Cool, talk to you later."
Heck, if Twitter cuts down on even half of the calls like that, it's doing society a great service.
But there is one thing about Twitter.com that does actually disturb me, and it has nothing to do with the service itself. The thing that bugs me is that it's being used as yet another sign that people today don't care about privacy and that maybe we don't even need to have privacy controls.
You've probably heard some of these arguments. They usually go something like, "Look at all these people blogging, MySpacing and Twittering. They are putting intimate details about their daily lives up for the entire world to see. This proves that privacy is dead and the vast majority of people don't care."
But to me, this argument gets everything wrong. This is sort of like saying, "Hey, look at how many people speed in their cars, cheat a bit on their taxes and steal small paper items from their employers. This clearly proves that the law is dead and most people don't care about obeying any laws."
Obviously there are different levels of privacy, and the point at which it becomes an issue is different for everyone. For example, I'm a pretty gregarious person and I'm usually not shy about telling people about lots of elements of my daily life. I've blogged about places I've traveled, bands I've seen and restaurants where I've eaten, and, of course, given my opinion publicly about a whole host of issues.
But you better believe that I care deeply about my privacy. Just because I'm free with certain details about my life doesn't mean that I want there to be giant databases out there that can combine all my data into a disturbingly detailed picture of my life that any company (or identity thief) could then use against me.
It also doesn't mean that I want to make it possible for governments or corporate entities to be able to track me through RFID, cell phones or identity cards no matter where I go.
And I think a lot of people share the same no-return line of privacy. Even the most avid Twitterers and social networkers don't want to have their identities stolen or have their employers know exactly where they are 24/7.
So no, privacy isn't dead. And you should be suspicious of anyone who is telling you that it is dead and that people don't care about privacy controls. I'm willing to bet that more often then not, the person saying that represents a business or organization that would profit from lessened privacy controls.
Sorry, hang on one second. There's just one thing I have to do right now.
Finished column on how Web 2.0 doesn't mean that privacy is dead. Time for snack. Mmm, chocolate- dipped almond biscotti. Less than three seconds ago.
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