One of the strangest paradoxes of social networking is that, in my experience, the people who have nothing to hide are most often the ones who are scared of people finding their dirty laundry.
Okay, okay. I’m talking about myself. But I’m talking about other people too! I got rid of my Facebook for a lot of reasons but the main one is that I don’t want people snooping around in my business and I don’t want my embarrassing moments saved forever on the internet.
The kids who actually have dirty laundry are all over the internet. Most of that crowd from high school, the girls who took pictures of themselves in their underwear and the “rasta” boys smoking weed all plastered their faces and their problems all over the internet. Granted, I’m now at an age where none of that would be a problem (except maybe the weed part), but my dislike for Facebook started when it was. This actually became a problem in my high school because the Peer Leaders, many of whom smoked and drank, had friended the teacher who ran the program. When Mr. K, the advisor and enforcer, looked through their pictures, he found a lot of problems. This led to a lot of angry and hurt students who just didn’t realize that taking shots on camera would be a problem (after they signed a contract saying they wouldn’t drink).
Most of the kids who elected to stay off Facebook were the ones who wouldn’t have had these kinds of problems anyway.
So it’s established. I don’t have a Facebook. I’m a little bit scared of social networking and I like being contrary. Great. No Facebook (had one once). No Myspace. No Twitter. I had a Xanga and posted twice. I have a Linkedin (which is slowly becoming my surrogate Facebook). I have a CollegeOnly which I logged into exactly once and probably never will again. No Tumblr. No Foursquare. Etc.
That said, I have been known to use Google Latitude, which is maybe the scariest of all.
My phone, which is pretty new, keeps track of where I am at all times. AT ALL TIMES. It’s pretty cool though because if I eventually make a friend who also uses it (unlikely), we can keep track of each other. Instead of texting that girl that I’m crushing on (my limerent object if you will), I can just instantly check where she is. Awesome and not at all creepy.
Programs like Google Latitude are at once terrifying but also exciting (and useful, I imagine). In all honesty, I can’t imagine a use for it. If I’m on my phone anyway, why couldn’t I just call my friend to find out where (s)he is? Maybe it would be good if I get trapped under a tree or something and someone has the foresight to think, “Hmm, where is Adam right now? Probably somewhere zany.” And then he or she stared at my location for long enough to realize I was in a forest and not moving. This situation is starting to sound more and more ridiculous.
I do love the idea of being able to find other people, but I don’t love the idea of being found. This is why I have the passwords to my friends’ Facebooks but I don’t have my own. I like to have all the knowledge without having to make a contribution. I like to invade privacy (when that privacy is up for grabs).
Maybe everyone should go off of Facebook. Everyone would be safer (certainly) and happier (maybe, but actually, probably not noticeable so). After all, for the one attractive picture posted of me on Facebook (when I had one), there were maybe 12 absolutely hideous ones posted as well. It is as if people have an uncontrollable urge to post terrible photos.
Then again, how would I find out about dorm parties, house parties, and Toad’s parties? Good question. Maybe there is a safer way. Too bad I don’t have any ideas for what it is because then I’d probably be very wealthy very soon.