Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Good Causes, Bad Outcomes

The New York Times writes about the admirable social campaign to get people to publicize a life-giving personal fact. But in the same article, Facebook continues to press for your birth date. Why? In today's job market, it is more than vanity that moves people to not list birth dates, and especially birth years. Bad enough that some are asking for your Facebook login credentials on interviews. Timeline is crossing over from proud expressions into encouraging potentially self-damaging data. I repeat my standing Facebook line again: It is the greatest voluntary data collection and data-mining tool in the history of mankind. The Life Events are prompts to urge us into compliance with that goal and make life easy for investigators. I appreciate the feedback of colleagues @LTorbin in particular. Yes, a cancer survivor often has great pride in the victory, and those are moments to celebrate. Why one of the most courageous people I know is Yonna Pasch, who is living her breast cancer treatment very openly, very socially and it is very inspiring. And the organ donor campaign encourages that sharing of something personal for a greater good. The joke once was the foodies better fear that they would be next after the smokers were isolated as pariah and that restrictions and bans were for their own good and the greater good of society being healthier. To invert the saying, first as farce, now as tragedy: look at the growing regulations on salt, etc., from government agencies. How long until keeping your personal life private becomes a ThoughtCrime against the collective? Someday, it might be more than getting targeted ads from AARP based on your birthday.

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