Where in the world?

I found out that Foursquare, the "check in" service, cut off access to the creepy, stalky app called Girls Around Me. The fact that anyone could track women through their check-ins, with their location put on a map, was apparently too much for Foursquare. Bad for business, eh? Foursquare wants you to check in. It won't do to have anyone putting that to bad or dangerous use.

Of course, someone else will do something similar. Find a way to get that information regardless of what Foursquare or Facebook do to their API. The makers of Girls Around Me are already working on it.

I'm a fairly public person for someone who is in no way famous. I have this blog. I just added a Tumblr (more on that later). I'm on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and several services such as Last.fm. On all of those, some amount of my information is available. And if you try hard enough, you can Google me (I am happy to be largely sheltered by a more famous person).

I don't want to give up social networking. I find it too useful. Seriously useful, not just fun. I keep up with events, such as music and art shows, which I would never know about otherwise. I have contacts with people who check their Facebook mail but rarely their regular email. My band has a page. Ladies Rock Camp, for which I am volunteer coordinator this year, has a page. Facebook is a fact of life, my life anyway, and so are the other services to a greater or lesser extent. I have no wish to become a hermit.

And yet I never check in anywhere via either Foursquare or Facebook. I have never set up a Foursquare account. I have no wish to broadcast where I am. Why would I? I'm seriously appalled by the number of people who do this, especially women. You really want to tell everyone that you're at a club or a restaurant or an airport?

And as for people who post Facebook updates to "public," don't get me started!

Even with all my social network engagement, and even though Facebook is against privacy, I have learned as much as I can about keeping my information secure. Almost nothing of my Facebook page is visible to non-friends, and my Facebook friends are at least acquaintances whom I actually know in some way. Anyone can message me, but only friends of friends can request friendship. I set as much privacy as is practical in my Facebook settings. No one can check me in. People can tag me only with my permission. If they ever allow that face recognition thing in Canada (we don't have it right now), I will make sure to turn it off as soon as I am aware. I check privacy settings from time to time, since Facebook has a habit of making "negative-option" changes without telling anyone.

It's probably age. Even though I am far from being a Luddite, I am cautious about how I embrace any technology. I love all that stuff that's available to me now, but I don't just dive into it. I trust people I know. I am less trusting of people I don't know, especially if they want to make money from me. I care about my privacy. I don't want to be stalked. I want to control my own information as much as possible. You should see how many blockers I have running on my browser! I'm sure marketers would hate me if they knew.

It's ironic, I suppose, that I might be heading toward fashion merchandising. I might well end up in a job in which I would stalk any of you who are not as careful about your privacy as I am.

1 comment:

Holly said...

Ugh, I hear you. I'm petrified of "checking in" anywhere a la Foursquare. Shudder.