Tuesday, 11 May 2010

When Information becomes a distraction.

I received an email from somebody today saying that my hotmail email account had been spamming her. I don't use it much, so wandered over to it and had a look. Sure enough, things were going tonto, so I decided to close it completely. Guess what? It proved to be harder than I envisaged, and I still don't know if I have succeeded. This, naturally got me thinking about all of these things we sign up for, never fully knowing if we can ever fully leave them. So I decided to quit my Myspace account next (I rarely use this now). Guess what? You see a pattern emerging here? The thing that concerns me most, is the trepidation I feel when hovering my cursor over the "close account" button. This, in itself makes me want to do it, yet the drug is obviously still coursing through my cyber-veins, and quite clearly, these need purging. Facebook is the biggie, the class A, the opiate. Part of me feels connected by using it, and part feels slightly inadequate in feeling the "need" to use it. I have found it a good way to squirt useful, individual information to students, in the absence of them being at college 5 days a week, but I have Twitter, and this blog, so this should all still be possible. And if it isn't, I suspect that the earth will somehow continue to revolve. As for my friends, well, I have their emails, their phone numbers and hey, if I'm feeling really wild, I can always talk to them face to face. I simply feel that I am experiencing information overload, and a big part of me would like to shed a load of it. My work as a lecturer is, by its very nature, highly sociable, so its not like I am in need of the "company" - and I use this word with a pinch of salt the size of a small planet! I'm talking myself into this, what do you think? The irony of me posting a link to this on FB is, by the way, not lost on me!


  1. I totally agree. i hate how facebook controls me. i hate how relationships are made/broken on it. i miss the days it was just face to face or phone. or even msn was better than this. most of all i hate how even thought i hate it, i cant get rid of it. i actually have to make my friends change my password to stop me going on it sometimes. its pathetic. one day i hope to find a balance.

  2. Yup - it has clear parallels with the playground gossip. I'm also slightly worried that a huge database somewhere now has all my pictures, videos and opinions - but maybe I'm just paranoid?

  3. As a Facebook leaver and returner and web developer this is a subject close to my heart. I am of the opinion that social networking is ideal for professional communication and idle chatter, but nothing inbetween.
    You are right to be paranoid, a close inspection of the user end license agreements (that we all heartily skip and agree to) explains that we are effectively donating all of the information we enter to facebook/myspace/bebo/linked-in etc. This unwitting publishing of information to the public domain has led to innumerable privacy issues and unfortunate cases of pictures and comments being taken out of context (espicially by the press).
    I propose that the answer to such problems is that instead of expecting corporations to change that we should try to educate ourselves and each other about how to think about the internet. It is (in) the public domain, and should be treated as such by those that submit to it, don't put anything up that you don't want the world to know or see and be ready for it to stay there, indefinitely!
    On a personal note, I'm a keen twitterer (@atleastimtrying) and have re-joined facebook with the intention of staying in touch with friends abroad.

    And now for the payoff for my rant..

  4. You make good points here, and as an artist, I am particularly sensitive about it - basically all I've been able to do is deactivate the account - i.e. ALL the info and data are still in place, and can be re-activated at any time. Didn't feel quite so cathartic once I'd fathomed that out!!

  5. Is this any help?


    On the plus side, social networks is excellent for self promotion and putting yourself up on google!