Social media and privacy are not incompatible (it just seems that way)

Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Google, and your cell phone -- everybody wants to have their way with your data. It's time to get serious about privacy.

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Welcome to my new blog, Thank You For Not Sharing. As the title implies, this blog is about privacy and social media, and even more about privacy and anti-social media.

Why am I writing this blog, and why now? Because the opportunities for privacy abuse in the brave new world of social networks are virtually endless. Sure, you may have 7,481 close personal friends on Facebook, but is Facebook your friend? You may tweet out every insipid little thought that passes through your frontal lobes on Twitter, but is somebody collecting these pearls of wisdom to use against you? Just how much can someone find out about you from your Linked In resume, and do you really want the world to know all this?

We are just a few short years into the social media revolution. Combine the bottomless reservoirs of information people willingly give up online with the new trove of geo-location data being broadcast by GPS phones and services like Foursquare, add some Flickr photos and YouTube videos, and stir with the vast search capabilities of Google.

We don't need Big Brother. We are Big Brother. Or maybe 300 million annoying Little Brothers.

My larger point: Even people who claim they have “nothing to hide” almost invariably have something worth hiding -- if only their personal address, social security number, and date of birth. In fact, it's the people who are most in the public eye that have the most to protect. You may love posting videos of yourself shaking your booty on YouTube and getting comments from your fans; you probably won't love it when your most devoted fan shows up unexpectedly on your doorstep.

And then there's ChatRoulette, which is just, well, I can't even put it into words yet. Look for something on that in a future post.

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