cynthia1960: (The Right Honourable Lady Catherine de B)
I'm going to nuke my account because the privacy hijinks are getting out of hand, not that I use it very often or anything. To be honest with you all, I don't find Facebook very useful for keeping in touch with people; the way it's structured makes it very hard for me to easily see what's going on with folks. However, there are some folks active on FB that aren't active on LJ/DW and I may lose contact with them. What's the best way to let the folks using FB know that my account is going byebye soon, and tell them where I can be found?
cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)
Yesterday's post about my issues with Facebook/Google Buzz got me thinking yet again about the use of pseudonymous usernames and compartmentalizing segments of my life. This started last year as a outgrowth of one of the #racefail'09 discussions and a panel at WisCon 33, and continued on with the recent LJ controversy about making people work within a binary concept of gender.

Now, Mary at Geek Feminism points us to a triggery yet vital discussion about how Google Buzz impacts a blogger who is dealing with the aftermath of rape and intimate partner violence. [personal profile] emceeaich told me about this over dinner yesterday evening, but the post makes it more starkly clear. Keeping things compartmentalized and locked down is more than just data management and the ability to balance various aspects of our lives, it can be a way to survive.

We don't live in Brin's transparent society. Transparency only works when there's no disparity in power or privilege. As long as there's an imbalance in power based on gender, sexual orientation, class, race, etc. ad infinitum, complete transparency can allow persons with power to inflict all sorts of negative consequences on those who don't have it.

The ability to control access to personal identification on social networks also operates within a broad spectrum. When I'm on Ravelry, I don't mind seeing various ads for yarn and fiber, and sometimes I'll even follow the ads to possible new lovely fibery goodness. Ravelry exercises a lot of control over what kind of ads are allowed. Contrast this with what's going on within Facebook/Google Buzz/LJ advertising. Say you're female on most networks, and you'll get barraged with all sorts of craptastic ads about looking younger and losing weight, just to name a few of them.

Don't forget, people want access to our personal information on social networks so they can make money selling us stuff. Responsible social networks take care to collect only the most useful information, as Sarah Dopp points out in her recent post about use of drop down menus for information on gender. They also allow their users to exercise control on the amount of information that can be shared. The post from Geek Feminism shows us what can happen when there's a lack of discretion or controls. Put people in harm's way just so you can sell more ads, DO NOT WANT!

It's also salutary to investigate the hidden and not so hidden assumptions in what is the unmarked state for the types of personal information collected. Is there a default of male/white/middle class/heterosexual/cisgendered/American? Going back to Ravelry for some less triggery examples (which is one of the networks that seems to be doing many things right), what's their unmarked state for gender/class/national origin and how does it affect the advertising they allow?
cynthia1960: (computer pwnd!)
[personal profile] oursin nails perfectly my unease about Facebook and Google Buzz.

Until the social networks manage to hone the ability to have segmented identities work fairly easily, I am going to resist any one system that purports to put everything in one place for me to get at them. There are many good reasons to keep my work and private email separate, and my fannish and family lives separate, and I shouldn't be forced to merge them. Facebook already blurs boundaries for me.

Some folks could ask me about why I use the same username on LJ/DW/Twitter/Ravelry, and isn't that part of the same thing? Well, I don't often blog or tweet about things outside my political/fannish/knitting life, and if I do, it's usually on a filter or friends lock. I don't leave my tweets open for everyone to see. Some of my family are comfortable about putting pictures and other stuff up on Facebook, but I'm not. I guess I'm more old school than I thought.

I really don't get a lot of enjoyment out of Facebook, and frankly, Google Buzz bothers me. If this means I don't get reconstituted in cyberspace after the Geek Rapture, so be it.


cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)

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