Thursday, September 13, 2007

Private eyes, they're watching you...

I’ve had had people ask why my blogs are typically more of an Andy Rooney minute or Dennis Miller rant then an actual web log of my life. Well, the answer is twofold. First, I don’t find my day-to-day life all that interesting. I have certainly done many blogs about my life (turning 40, hot dog trip, etc) but over time have gone to my more familiar, less person blogs. I think the “I got up and took a shit today” and “work sucked today” blogs are boring and self-absorbed…well, I guess most blogs are but that’s beside the point. I guess I’d just as soon try and bring some of my (I hope) witty little observations on how I see things. That will continue to be my focus. If you really want to know more about my day-to-day life, buy me a beer, call me or simply ask, I’m not shy.

Now, the other reason is, as much as I will tell you as much as you’d like to know about me I’m actually kind of a private person. Stop laughing I’m serious. I feel like for parts of the last 10 years I’ve been living my life on-line. Giving out my phone number and address to anyone who’d ask, posting pictures of me and my family, giving out personal details I’d never have given away years ago. I didn’t care and I was comfortable with it. Well, it’s gotten scarier out there with stalkers, phishers, and identity theft. I had an incident recently, which many of you close to me know about where I received subtlety threatening phone calls. They knew little about me other then the floor I lived on and my phone number. It freaked me out. I took care of things on this end but started thinking about how much of myself I’ve left out there. Reading through my Myspace profile etc I realized that, given a little effort, a whole lot can be found out about me. So I’m making changes. I took my job info off my profile on Myspace and may do the same with schools. I’m thinking of making blog and pics private. It’s not fair to my family or me to leave stuff out there. I was also freaked to see how much private information my niece, whose profile is supposed to be private, left on hers and it certainly is NOT private but that will change. I’m not now nor have I ever been paranoid but there does come a time you need to smarten up.

My advice to you my friends? Look at all the places pieces of you are online. Google your name, email address, commonly used user ID’s. You might be shocked. If you think there’s too much info in the wrong places, edit it. Nothing more then your city or town should be associated with you. I’d take any specifics of my place of employment off anything (accept job search sites). This may also save you embarrassment if someone at work looks you up and you had something bad to say about him or her. If you want to blog about specific people or personal matters, make it friends only. I can tell you at least 2 times friends of mines blogs have caused them duress. If you plan to look for a new job and leave them an email address, make it a different one then is associated with your Myspace, Face Book, etc as many employers are (somewhat illegally) checking these things out. Big one…IF, in your younger days, or say, recently, you posted pictures that may be, how shall I put this…somewhat racy of yourself (yes, you can assume none of these exist of me…yuck) on like, Hot or Not, etc (not even sure if these still exist) I’d get rid of them and close my account. A little web admiration versus having this turn up at the worst time seems hardly worth the risk. From the time I started writing this blog take a look what happened to that girl from High School Musical. Not that any of us will ever be famous but look what it cost her. Bet in the long run it wasn’t worth it. And passwords? Hackers, even low level, don’t need no stinking passwords. Assume someone can get your most private stuff not on a high security encrypted (Amazon, bank sites, etc) site so be cautious.

I know this sounds crazy paranoid coming from me as I don’t typically sweat shit like this but I do fear we are all living a little more openly and a little less cautiously and leaving ourselves exposed to what could be bad. Really bad.

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