Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Somebody's Always Watching...

I'm just an average (wo)man
With an average life
I work from 9 to 5
Hey well I pay the price
All I want is to be left alone
In my average home
But why do I always feel
I'm in the twilight zone and

I always feel like
Somebody's watchin' me
And I have no privacy
Oh, I always feel like
Somebody's watching me
Tell me is it just a dream

Blog Stalkers:  secretly reading someone’s blog with the express purpose of learning  more about them without their knowledge; to stalk via blog; also known as 'creepers' or 'lurkers'

Thing is that it is not secret.  A counter on ones blog has a hit by hit recording of everyone that visits your blog.  Every.  Single.  Time.  And for the most part I don't mind multiple hits from readers daily and to be honest there are only a couple, but ...it just takes one for it to send me over the edge sometimes.  Especially when I don't want that person being all up in my bizNAZZ.

I think it’s important for us all to remember that the words we write might be written with one intention – but that they can be read and interpreted in a very different way.  This goes for not only blogs but also Facebook.  Personally when it comes to Facebook I am not 'friends' with anyone I don't truly know in person.  It might have been a while back or something but at least I know them.  I know a lot of people out there that have friends upon friends of people they have no idea who they are or if they are even who they claim to be.  Personally I have met people who come off as one type and are completely the opposite IRL, so online its even worse.

While I’ve seen a number of articles in recent times about how to keep your blog safe and secure from hacking and accidental loss – it’s also worth considering how to keep yourself (and those you live with) safe and secure also. When you write in a public forum you are doing so with the hope that people will read you. The unfortunate side of this is that you have little control over the perceptions of others towards you and that from time to time people will disagree with you and even become agitated towards you (apparently I agitated Anonymous which he so kindly admitted to with one or more of my previous postings).

This is both one of blogging’s biggest strengths (ie the conversation, diversity and dialogue) but also one of it’s biggest weaknesses when it goes to far.

While I’m no expert on personal online safety I would STRONGLY advise you consider what information you do and don’t reveal online about where you live and your family.  This is why there are no pictures of my new place, no pictures of any running that I may or may not do in the general area and I never ever ever check in publicly to any place near where I live and any reference I make to a particular area are so vague that no one reading this or my Facebook could figure out where I live.  I do sometimes drift from this and then I realize what I may be doing and I reel it back in.

I have most recently, thanks to new Facebook privacy options been able to create lists.  Really close friends of mine and friends that I dont mind knowing most of what I post, are on one list and see everything (there are 74 people on this list).  Then there is the list that I use for everyone else + the 74.  Those people will see some photos, Shares of articles, and generic status updates that are meaningless.  Just to give you an idea of the people on list 1?  Not even my family is on that list.  I throw a lot of 'bones' out there so no one I dont think has figured out that they aren't on 'the' list. 
Jokes on them.  :O)

I have also locked down my Twitter as to who can and cant see my tweets.  I had a person go out and just search one day, read a bunch of back tweets and made some assumptions and next thing you know, we're in a 'situation'.

One of the main reasons why I wanted to write on this topic is honestly due to how little privacy one has (as it pertains to running) and there is nothing I or anyone can do about it.  And it pisses me off to no end.

  1. Runner Tracking:  I sent out the link to track me in Chicago to 2 people personally and to a few on Twitter.  I did not post this link on my blog, nor did I post it on Facebook.  Furthermore a person not only can just go to a race website and find the link or follow that race on Facebook or Twitter and they have the link.  And furthermore you don't even have to know the bib number and sometimes not even a persons full name.  Let me tell you; this pisses me off for the most part.  Big time.  If I wanted everyone to track me then I would let it be known.  I found out through texts when runner tracking wasnt working for me, from so many people it was insane, wanting to know "are you ok?" "did you finish?" etc.  Um.  First off, I dont run with my phone (did it ONCE for nyc2008 so my sister could find me), therefore I am not going to respond while in the race.  Furthermore why are you fucking tracking me anyway?  I'm sorry (that I'm not sorry) but I just think if I didnt ask if you wanted to or that it was ok with me if you did, then why are you doing it?  Its one thing to go and look at race finish times etc., but tracking?  No.
  2. Race Photos: Kinda like runner tracking.  Anyone with half a brain can go out and find race photos.  If I post one photo, then thats the photo I want to share.  If I dont post any photos, but my friend did and you figure out the photographer, then you go and search my name and then you can see pictures of me.  Guess what?  Not cool.  Does a person ever think that maybe people dont post pictures, links, times, events etc., for a reason?  I don't want every half-wit in my business unless I give the all clear.  I dont like it and I think its rude and its an invasion of privacy regardless if its on the damn internet or not.
  3. Decide up front how much personal information you will share on your blog – I’ve always been reasonably careful about this. I don’t post my address, I don’t post the name of anyone close to me (I use initials unless otherwise cleared with that person or I link a blog)  If I do post photos I generally ask for permission or make them anonymous.  This is also why you wont see a lot of self portraits of me for the most part because I just find it unimportant to what I am wanting to say or show.
  4. Consider your offline security – Ask yourself – ‘How easy would it be for someone to find you in real life?’ As I say I was not found directly through information on my blog (although I’m sure knowing my name and city which I reveal in my about pages helped) but through offline sources. I’m sure there are different ways to add layers of security in different parts of the world but consider silent numbers, PO Boxes for mail, being silent on the electoral roll etc.
  5. Consider the way you are perceived online – I work hard at presenting myself online in a fairly easy going, polite and well mannered person (I’m often made fun of for this even). While at times I don’t feel like being this way it is an intentional thing. This is partly because it’s my character and personality (I’m a gal who was brought up to always consider the feelings of others) and partly as a security consideration – I don’t want to inflame the wrong person. Obviously it doesn’t always work – but I do worry about some bloggers who seem intent on promoting themselves through angry, attacking and personal attacks. Consider the costs of your actions and words both on yourself and others before you post. You may still choose to take the attacking approach – but do so at your own risk and knowing the full extent of what it could one day lead to.
Sorry for the rant, but as 'open' as the internet is and to everyone, and yes I write a blog, but that doesn't give everyone free rein to dumpster dive into other areas if I didn't give permission.  It just doesn't seem right.  Do you?


Jamoosh said...

I don't understand why someone would want to go check out race photos. Over 90% of them are the worst photos someone will ever have taken of them. I know we have 9% unemployment, but jeez, spend that time productively being a decent member of society.

Xaarlin said...

When I think about all of your points, it seriously makes me want to say the hell with my blog and Facebook. I can make the blog private and not searchable. My FB is already locked down.

It's the sites like spokeo that really piss me off. When I can make my info private on them I always do.

What's the good solution to this? Not sure. As long as we are running races our age name and times will be available to anyone searching online.

Lesley @ racingitoff.com said...

I'm going to stalk you until I end up on "the" list. ;-) Kidding. See you in what... 6 weeks?

JunieB said...

Oh Lesley you ARE on 'the' list!!! one of the 74 :O)

and yes, 5.5 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!