Answering my own questions since 2001

I Don’t Want Everyone to Know Where I Am All the Time

Lots of people are talking about Twitter. Robert links to David, who has a cool diagram about possible corporate applications for the service. What’s Twitter, you ask?

A global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing? Answer on your phone, IM, or right here on the web!

The service reminds me of LiveJournal widgets which say things like:

Current Mood: Gothically Frustrated

Listening To: “Lovesong” by The Cure

I’m all for the depth and transparency that social media is adding to the world. On most topics, I think more information is a good thing.

There is, as the idiom goes, too much of a good thing.

I want to control who knows where I am, and what I’m doing, at any given moment. This is the same reason I’ve eschewed the cool-looking Plazes, and though I maintain an online calendar, I don’t make it publically available. I know, for example, that most online calendars offer an ‘available-busy’ option, which doesn’t expose the details of your scheduled events, but I want complete control.

Why?

I want to be able to lie. I want to be able to say I’m busy when I’m not, and I want to manufacture excuses when I’m late. I don’t do this regularly, but I want the option.

On the other side of the coin, I don’t want to be expected to monitor my friends’ and colleagues’ physical locations. I never want to hear “OMG, weren’t you subscribed to my geo RSS feed?”

So, for the moment at least, Twitter falls in the ‘interesting but not for me bucket’.

15 Responses to “I Don’t Want Everyone to Know Where I Am All the Time”

  1. David Armano

    It’s always interesting to see what apps people take to. I was turned off to twitter as well initially. And though I use mybloglog I have an aversion to putting the widget on my blog (like the one you have here). Just a preference, I actually like anomonymity on blogs unless I choose to disclose myself with a comment.

    Most of these apps are too much of a good thing including blogging. They all require discipline and some kind of purpose. Even in the case of Twitter where the purpose is serndipity.

  2. NetChick

    For me, transparency has become a part of my life, so when I saw through Tod’s blog that a ‘social engine’ has actually made its way to the mainstream, I was pleased.

    Its not for everyone, but, it’s definitely for me. I like being able to pick up the phone and know I’m not disturbing someone’s work, or, social outing… Or, better yet, let it be known that I’m available for something spur-of-the-moment.

    Who knows… It might turn out to be a curse, but I’m willing to try it out. And hell, I can always lie or not put my status at all!

  3. Travis Allison

    We’ve been using it in my day job as a way to understand what everyone is working on in a day. We’ve made it optional to make the rss available to everyone in the world.
    We are a team of 3 working from 3 seperate offices and it helps us to get a feel for what the other’s days are like.

  4. Heather

    What would be the real life equivalent of Twitter? Wearing a whiteboard placard that you changed every time you started a new task?

  5. Larry

    In a way Twitter is a publishing platform with a 140 character limit and no comments. You’re in control of what you post, so why is it any more invasive or transparent than any this blog? of course, this is coming from a fan.

  6. Ton Zijlstra

    You wrote:
    I want to control who knows where I am, and what I’m doing, at any given moment. This is the same reason I’ve eschewed the cool-looking Plazes….

    Isn’t that exactly what Plazes allows you to do? Deciding per instance if you want to share your location, as well as with whom? It does for me. Not quite following your reasoning.

  7. Deb

    This web blogging is new to me, and I am worried about the potential invasion of my personal life too. Although I know that I am in control of what I am typing, I still don’t understand the many different methods that hackers can enter personal computers. The more I am on the computer, the more possibility of an invasion, yet society is focussed on computor technology. It is impossible to function without a computer thus increasing the possibility of invasion – a mixture of pros and cons of modern technology – you can’t elude or escape it.

  8. Dorothy Thurn

    I just don’t know. If everyone knows exactly what you’re doing and where you are all the time, there’s no mystery, no privacy, just nothing. There’s also the matter of everyone knowing, not just a select few. I’m starting to wonder, what’s next?

  9. Deb

    There have been thriller movies made many years back, where viewers would say “good movie, but that will never happen”. Think about the cartoon “the jetsons” how many funny gizmoos were featured on that basic cartoon that are now fact and are now a part of our every day life! Our instructor was just telling us about a lecture that she attended, where a viewing camera was so sensitive to the class’s reactions that you could not cough without the camera picking up your movement, displaying your face on the viewing screen to the other peers, maybe a province away, and a voice would ask you if you had “something verbal to offer the class discussion”. Now that is scary, these were university classes. What is next?

    A little privacy is needed for a human’s personal growth, or it can not be called “personal growth”, it would need to be called “public growth of a person”

  10. Dorothy

    This is perhaps what famous people (movie stars, Princess Di, etc) endured. They are or were always in the public eye, often trying to get away from cameras. Many of them have never had privacy or have difficulty getting away from the spotlight. I can’t imagine what that would be like but I think I would hate it. With technology growing and changing as quickly as it is, will privacy become a thing of the past?

  11. Deb

    One thing about movie stars, they know what they are in for. I think that rarely do stars go into stardom without the realization of what they were in for – no privacy. It is the people on the street that I think about. The people who may have lost their privacy without a possibility of a fight for their self respect. What happened to the “voice of the people”. Have we lost the fight for individualism.
    cheers
    Deborah

  12. Bill Shakespeare’s Twitterscape | DarrenBarefoot.com

    […] The tech world is all excited about Twitter. I’ve managed to avoid the rage thus far, and am not very interested in hopping on board this particular train. I like what Kathy Sierra has to say about Twitter, and how we’ve possibly crossed a kind of attention event horizon. […]

  13. Patrick

    I see a problem with this. Co-workers often think they are qualified to, and should manage others.

    This provides those people with power they aren’t necessarily prepared to use.

    It reminds me of people who drive their large truck like it’s a car. If you were to ask them, they would describe themselves as good drivers.

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