You Are What You Post (You Hope)

I moved into a new house earlier this year, and only recently began to feel at home there.

So last week I hauled some boxes out of the garage and began to unpack them.

Most were books that I have read and collected since I was very young.

As I lifted them onto the shelves, one after another, I began to feel like I recognized myself.

It was an unusual feeling, these books one by each revealing a different aspect of my own identity.

I began to wonder how’d I’d recognized my self before that moment. It seemed not at all.

I quickly realized that, like a lot of people, I’ve spent years cultivating an identity online, mainly in social media environments like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr.

And I realized that the identity I had manufactured didn’t necessarily reflect who I really was. Continue reading

On Confused Media Ratings

As everyone know, many forms of media, including video games, television shows, and movies, are reviewed and rated to assess their appropriateness for consumption by different age groups.

Cole and I have been talking about this quite a bit recently as he argues to play what are inarguably age-inappropriate video games (he’s particularly focused on Halo) and I’m working to convince him that he’s just not ready for these types of games. The surprising fact that several of his peers are permitted by their parents to play games like Halo – often alone in their bedrooms for hours on end – doesn’t make things any easier.

Of course, ratings are only one form of assessing the appropriateness of media for one’s own child. A more primary and important method is, of course, parental review and approval. This is the method I prefer and exercise much more vigorously.

In a sense, I treat the organizational reviews as indicators more than absolute guides. Continue reading

More About Your New Government

Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke at a conference in Berlin last week. He was trying to charm attendees into a state of calm German regarding their concerns about the company’s StreetView technology. However, with comments like, “we know where you are, we know what you like,” he may have just made things worse.

In full, he said:

Ultimately, search is not just the web but literally all of your information – your email, the things you care about, with your permission – this is personal search, for you and only for you….We can suggest what you should do next, what you care about. Imagine: We know where you are, we know what you like… A near-term future in which you don’t forget anything, because the computer remembers. You’re never lost.

If that’s not scary talk, I don’t know what is.

Read more about the event on the Register, Eric Schmidt warns Berliners: ‘We know where you are’, and on TechCrunch: Eric Schmidt: “We Know Where You Are, We Know What You Like”.

Meet Your New Government

Your new government knows everything about you.

It knows who your friends and family are.

It knows where you are at all times, where you’re going, and where you’ve been.

It knows what you read, what you watch, and what you listen to.

It knows what you’re looking for.

Your new government reads your email and listens to all of your telephone calls. It reads the documents you write.

Your new government tracks everything you buy, the news you read, the medicines you use, and the food you eat.

It knows what you’re going to do before even you do.

Soon it will own your DNA.

This is life under the Google Regime, an emerging era in which privately-managed corporations replace elected bodies as our central governing agencies. Continue reading