Thursday, September 1, 2011

ROL: Too Much Information and Not Enough Privacy.

ROL is an abbreviation for Return on Life. Return on Life is all about making small incremental changes that yield large returns on life enjoyment. This week's ROL is about respecting the privacy of others as well as your own privacy.

Sharing Has It's Limitations.
I'm still in the euphoria phase with my new MyTouch 4G. My new smartphone may not be a big deal to some but my last 3 phones were WindowsMobile (2 were provided by work) and frankly, WinMo sucks. I loaded CardioTrainer to track my morning walks. I like CardioTrainer, it's certainly functional enough. The only thing I don't like is at the end of each workout it asks me if I want to share my results on Facebook or Twitter. I understand one of the way these free apps get paid is via publicity but share my workout results? No! Then I wondered if the Kama Sutra app asks the same question?

It's None Of Your Damn Business.
Last week, Danny Brown gave Klout an earful about it's jump through hoops opt out policy. In a nutshell, Danny's point is that it is fundamentally wrong to have to instruct someone they do not have blanket permission (or in Klout's case any permission) to access your various social media accounts. Instead, the standard should be: assume permission to access account and score social media activity is denied unless expressly permitted. Insert standing ovation here.

You Don't Need To Know And I Didn't Ask.
These are trying times for those in favor of privacy. The U.S. government imposition of it's "fear of fear" policy is beyond the scope of this post. I'll talk about us, not the U.S. Given the immediacy of contact available via the internet, the walls of common sense and good taste are so thin as to be transparent. Let me offer a few simple examples to serve as guidelines for my version of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".

  • Do not ask a pregnant stranger if you can rub her belly. The answer is "No". Yes, I speak for everyone. 
  • Do not offer in a public forum the color of your bodily fluids after a wrestling match with Jose Cuervo.
  • I don't need to know the minute details of your root canal. Root canal is sufficient.
  • Please don't share how much you made on your last deal. Shame on me if I ask.
  • Don't ask anyone why they do not have offspring. If you don't already know, you don't need to know.
I could go on ad nauseam, but that brings the conversation back to bodily fluids (see above). In summary, before speaking or hitting the send button, ask: "Why do I need to know?" or "Does anyone else need to know?".  Everyone in your circle will be happier and the world will be just a little better.

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