The internet is giving me the fear. Not the often-clogged series of tubes (as best illustrated by a Windows 95 screensaver), but the virtual masses who are sharing the location of their homes, letting us know the exact moment they cross the bridge, and flooding my once pristine Twitter feed with instructions on how to find them.
Four Square has been active in our fair hamlet for a few months, now. It allows folks to "check in" to a location via an application or their mobile website. Checking in shares your current location with your pals on Four Square, and can also be synced with Facebook and Twitter.
I joined it a few days after I noticed an influx of tweets from locals using the tool (just in case it ended up being awesome, I wanted to brag that I was an early adopter). I puttered around with it on my iPod Touch, sharing when I was at a local comedy club or a great coffee shop, and proclaimed my arrival at work. A few weeks later, I quit the Four Square show and went back to living my life without giving up GPS coordinates.
Social media tools already require a certain level of narcissism. Your presence on these websites has to be worth following, so a little thought should be put into the content that you share. To assume that the whole world is interested in your exact location at any given moment is perhaps going a bit too far.
There's a reason someone like Ashton Kutcher is popular on Twitter, and it's not the quality of his writing or his profound ideas (or, as of late, his successful films). He is a celebrity, albeit a lame one, and sad-ish That 70s Show fans will always want to know what Kelso is up to, what he's eating, who he's talking to, and where he is in the world. Your average Nova Scotian, even those with a good number of followers, doesn't have the same draw. Kelso could get away with indulgently using Four Square. You can't. People want to know where he had lunch. No one wants to know the address of the Tim Horton's you get coffee from in the morning. The use of Four Square as a tool for special events or meeting up with friends has its merits, but it's honestly getting a little silly.
There's also the scarier side of constantly divulging your location. The website Please Rob Me lists "all those empty homes out there" based on Four Square updates on Twitter. You're also basically making an open invitations for people to move from following you online, to stalking you down your street. Take heed: this is coming from someone who once accidentally forwarded the address of her Dartmouth stronghold to 700 strangers on Facebook. You don't want the Internet showing up on your doorstep.
We Live in Public
Night of the Living Dead
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 04, 2010
On Twitter the other day, I asked if folks would be interested in doing an Oscar pool, and got a pretty good response. After mulling about for the past few days, I've come up with the following terms for our little wager:
1. It's $10.00 to participate. Winner takes all. In the case of a tie, I'll come up with a very impartial tie-breaker. Update: The amazing folks at the Atlantic Film Festival are going to throw in a few screening passes! So cool.
2. You can drop $$$ off at my work (Public Archives Building at Dal), or arrange to meet up with me somewhere in Halifax/the wilds of Dartmouth. If you're interested in sending money through Paypal, DM me and I'll send you my address.
3. You have until the day before the Oscars to make your predictions. Here's a handy list to use. When you've made your choices, send me an email and confirm that these are your final picks. Oscar night, I'll print all of these off and keep score. I'll try to tweet through the night so you know who's in the lead.
4. Winner will get the cash, internet glory, and movie buff status.
5. Choose... wisely.
Andrew "Egon" Fleming