Thursday, March 22, 2007

Convergence

It is perhaps ironic that I have to log into my Google account in order to access my Blogger account in order to bitch about how my online identities are converging. Or perhaps it is simply telling. Or appropriate.

Regardless, I'm annoyed.

Flickr wants me to link my account to my YahooID, and frankly, the idea makes me a little uncomfortable. I remember back when they first announced that this was happening that there were some people making a stink about it in the forums, and others who couldn't see what the problem was.

Perhaps it's just more evidence of the generation gap that was described in a recent New York Times magazine article -- the gap between those who try to keep a certain amount of privacy online and those who put themselves completely online, their private life, public.

Sure, to be wholly anonymous nowadays, you pretty much have to be off the grid entirely, but I'd like to think that there's still a middle ground somewhere in there that I can carve out, with a little anonymity through obscurity and obfuscation, at least. I probably want people to find me if they're looking hard enough, but I don't really want to just drop it in their lap. A bit paradoxical, I suppose. Or like the article says, maybe I'm just fooling myself:

And after all, there is another way to look at this shift. Younger people, one could point out, are the only ones for whom it seems to have sunk in that the idea of a truly private life is already an illusion. Every street in New York has a surveillance camera. Each time you swipe your debit card at Duane Reade or use your MetroCard, that transaction is tracked. Your employer owns your e-mails. The NSA owns your phone calls. Your life is being lived in public whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

So it may be time to consider the possibility that young people who behave as if privacy doesn’t exist are actually the sane people, not the insane ones. For someone like me, who grew up sealing my diary with a literal lock, this may be tough to accept. But under current circumstances, a defiant belief in holding things close to your chest might not be high-minded. It might be an artifact—quaint and na├»ve, like a determined faith that virginity keeps ladies pure.

Back in the day, I only set up my Yahoo account so I could sign up for online stuff without getting my "real" email address spammed. Then my YahooID got tied to a bunch of my mailing lists when Yahoo! assimilated eGroups. That was the beginning of the end, I think. When that happened, all of a sudden my hidden email address was mapped to my "real" address and could be seen by groups of people that I actually interact with in the real world.

So now, if I attach my YahooID to my Flickr account, all those peeps will probably be able to see my photostream. Which seems pretty benign. Except, my Flickr account also links to this blog. And somehow, I've always thought of this blog as being a separate sort of thing. So if I link the ID, the connection's made. Probably fine, right? What's the big deal?

Well, if it's done, it's done. The internet sticks around.

And then how easy is it to out the SOOTTAD, who is fiercely protective of her personal information to the point that there are no unprotected pictures of her on our *private* online photo gallery. I don't even post many pictures of myself in order to reduce the odds of her being identified by association.

Except that the information is already out there. There is a picture of the SOOTTAD out there on the interwebs, with her real name attached to it even. And the Yahoo email address has always been tied to the Blogger account. It just didn't have the reverse mapping from Yahoo to Blogger is all. Oh, F. I already linked to the blog on that stupid Yahoo360° page.

Dumbass. (F'ing Yahoo, pushing and pushing and pushing to continue the convergence. At least I'm not bumping into the namespace issue that other people are having.)

Like I said, maybe I'm just fooling myself.

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