Saturday, January 28, 2012

Let's Be Social - But Not Too Much, OK?

"I don't Twitter. I don't Myface. I don't use Yearbook. I don't do any of that stuff" - Bill Belchick, football coach

So, one of the things I have gotten into the habit of doing lately when I get home after working all day is sitting down with a cold one, or a hot one, depending on the temperature, and flipping through Facebook and Twitter. Just one of those habits I've developed. I actually continually rail against FB people that are posting constantly and carry their Social networking to the Nth degree of being non-social, but I enjoy scrolling down the list to find the couple of things that actually interest me. I'll be honest, I really don't understand anywhere near the full potentials of this media - I can bearly post anything at all, and after I've done it, I have to wonder if it really went where I intended it to go. When I hear that countries are being overthrown because the rebels coordinated their revolution using Twitter, I have to say "WHAT??". You've got to understand this is coming from someone that still gets excited about email! I'm not an introvert, but I haven't opened my life to Cyberworld yet either. However, it seems Cyberworld is finding me wherever I am.

Lately, I've tried to pare down my Facebook contact. The main thing I get out of it is reading family stuff and I like seeing what friends are doing in their running lives. There is even a political site, written by a Congressman of the party opposite to my leanings that I enjoy because he seems to be impartial, fair, self-thinking (WOW!), and continually writes about what's going on in congress. But, my posting is minimal - an occasional comment on someone else's post or letting you know when I post a blog (I even question if anybody wants to know that, but believing they do feeds my literary ego). But, I just don't understand all the levels of FB, and if anybody understands their Privacy Policy, please step forward. Just accept that anything you put on FB is: #1) there forever, and #2) there for everybody to see.

I do like Twitter much better because the comments have to be limited to 140 characters, so most TWEETS - God, I hate that term - are short and have a link to an article that I have the choice to dive into or not. If I have a particularly good, or more often bad, run, I might tweet just to get it off my chest. Some folks follow me for some unknown reason, so I just let them know I'm still around. I follow runners, baseball & soccer players and sites, politics (still searching for an impartial political site), and a couple of miscellaneous places that make me laugh.

But, lately, Social networking as it pertains to running, and everything else to be honest, has really been getting on my nerves. When you buy a new gadget to run with, it usually comes with some software that not only tracks our runs, analyzes our workouts with graphs and charts, but now we have the ability to upload it to "the cloud", write a note about how we "feel" during the workout, and let everyone else see how and what we're doing, so they can offer their suggestions and/or encouragement and/or critique, and it lets us be generally as open about our running lives to others as we are to ourselves. Even, my watch wants to get sociable - after a particularly horrible run, when I hit "end" on my watch, I have to tell my watch to shut up because it says "Great Job!". No it wasn't. It was awful.

It's funny how you share some information you don't even realize your sharing. Do you have one of those sites where they force you to publish your running route overlaid on a map, even if you don't want to? It shows the world in exacting detail where the front door of your house is. I know people with a pickaxe can find my address and stalk me if they want to, but do I have to put it on a silver internet platter for them? Google came out this week with a new Privacy Policy that takes effect March 1st. If you go to their site, essentially they are screaming at you READ THIS OR WE'RE NOT RESPONSIBLE!! As my paranoia grows, I picture someone at Google going through my emails as they pour into my Gmail inbox(es) and then calling all my friends to tell them about it. I like the internet and want to be friends with it, but it's getting scary.

There are a couple sites out there that allow you to discover new routes and places to run, such as MapMyRun, and they're nice, but even they're morphing to become more social. Share your run. Share your life. Let us all become one...the collective...THE BORG!!

Why does my phone track me? Does it really send, via 21st Century technology, my location to someone named Peggy, sitting in old Communist Russia, who then sends a T-mobile sales rep to me to sell me a new phone? Is there a big War-room map in some underground bunker that flashes "DiMicco's on the move" when I drive home?

I could go off on my John Wayne imitation and say I'm from the days when men were men, work was work, and we didn't have a need to let everyone know what we're doing and how we're feeling all the time. Maybe I'll post that on Facebook and see if I get any "Likes". I know at the end of the day, social networks are just tools of expression and a means for us to communicate with others, but I think the world is changing a little too quickly for this slowly aging runner.

And that's the end of my cynicism for today. And I even had a good run this morning - imagine if I had a crappy run and wanted to take it out on the world. So now, I have to go check my Twitter account, so I'm a hypocrite I guess. Maybe somebody will tell me in 140 characters or less that they read this and I'm overly critical and paranoid.

Have a great week (post it and I'll read it). I'll see you on the roads (in person!) - AL

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"

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