Sunday, February 08, 2009

Socialising

So I have my Facebook account (which I actually like using); a Bebo account (which I never look near); a Twitter account (which I've only just started using in order to find out what the fuss was about); a LinkedIn account (which is useful for my career); a Blogger account (thus this posting); a Plaxo account (in an attempt to synchronise my contact details across my various client machines); a Flickr account (which I rarely use and may be tempted to ditch in favour of Picasa); a Friends Re-United account (which doesn't seem to be a school friend hook-up tool anymore).

What I have created, however, is a social network which is difficult to maintain! I want to be able to find out what my friends are doing and tell them what I am doing. Facebook seems to fit the bill in that regard, though I guess Twitter would probably achieve the same thing.

I'm not into the Facebook applications to be honest. "What's Your Real Age" and "What Lord Of The Rings Character Are You" may seem like fun, but they are fairly trivial and quite franking a waste of time. So I find myself updating my status and writing on friends' walls (though mainly updating my status).

I've managed to get Twitter to update my Facebook status automatically which is great and I've installed a Twitter addon to Firefox which allows me to update my status through the address bar.

All fine and dandy but...

When I signed up to Twitter, I managed to get a "follower" immediately. A pretty young girl from somewhere I've never been to. Why was she interested in me? My first posting said something like "This is my first posting" so it can't be for the intellectual stimulation I provide. Ulterior motives, for sure.

I get friend requests through Bebo from people I've never met. Friend requests from people who were in my year at school (though I never spoke to them then and can't think why they feel the need to speak to me now).

Do social networking sites actually have a negative impact on our sociability? I'm guessing if I write on someone's wall, then I can feel that I've "connected" with them to an extent which removes any obligation to actually go and visit!

I'm also guessing that my "school chums" want to connect with me in order to get their friends number as high as possible? (For the record, I have about 20 friends on Facebook which I think is a lot bearing in mind that I probably only have 2 or 3 friends and they don't even use Facebook!)

The really concerning thing for me, however, is that these applications communicate with each other and share my user details. If one of these applications gets compromised, I maybe in bother! A Google search of my name yields some very disturbing results. Some results are links to pages I have created either on my personal website, this blog or LinkedIn. Some, however, have been created automatically by sites that have skimmed information from my primary sites without my permission. Even though I only have a couple of friends and just a handful of acquaintances on Facebook, it seems that I am a fairly popular guy net-wise.

Herein lies the problem. I want to use these tools to connect with a select few people and while these tools manage to do that, I can't help but worry that too many of my personal details are now public knowledge.

Right... I'm off to tell Twitter that I've blogged some old nonsense in the hope that Twitter will update Facebook with a link to this post!
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