Internet privacy (or complete lack of)

I’m not naive. I know that everything I post on the Internet is public. It’s just that lately, with everything linking to each other, I seem to pop up all over the place, when I least expect it. It’s kinda freaky. Like many people (I suppose–or am I weird?) I have a Google Alert set up in my name so that I can see where I’m showing up. This is not entirely for narcissistic reasons. Sometimes I realize I’ve not configured my settings right, which was just the case on FriendFeed the other day.

I’m fully aware that most things are public, but aside from my almost 400 friends on Facebook, I’ve got that profile configured pretty tightly. If you’re my friend I have no secrets, but if you’re not you can’t see my status updates, pictures, or anything else. It’s my place to be a little goofy because it’s where I interact with my family, my best friends, and my kids, as well as a lot of people I’ve met (either in real life or virtually) through my publishing work, my Eden Mills involvement, my passion for children’s/YA lit, or my involvement with the Down syndrome community of families. That’s a lot of people, and so I still strive for not offending anyone on purpose (can’t help if my lefty thoughts offend some — won’t apologize for those). But I didn’t think my stuff was being broadcast past those walls. Enter FriendFeed.

Idly checking my Google Alerts the other day (most are tweets) I saw a Facebook update and wondered why it was there. I followed the link to FriendFeed, where I discovered that it was allowed to post my status updates, my links, and various other things. I have no recollection of allowing this, but I must have done at some point, right? In any case, I’ve changed it now to only pull links, but all my old status updates are still floating around out there.

Will this make me more careful? Only in some ways. I’m not posting drunken debauched party pics anywhere. I should be so lucky. What it will enforce is that I undertake to learn more thoroughly about the applications I’m using. And remember the old adage: Don’t write anything in an email that you wouldn’t write on a postcard. It applies here too.

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