Separate Lives?

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Credit: Pixabay

Privacy has become a big issue in today’s world.  Big business owners like Mark Zuckerberg want to convince you that privacy is dead, while at the same time retaining a stranglehold on their own.  Why? Because they can make billions off your lack of privacy.  That’s all.  Simple greed.

I grew up before the internet existed.  (Yes, it is possible to survive childhood without the internet, I promise.)  Cell phones were not ubiquitous – mostly because when I was a kid, they were hella expensive and the size of a dictionary. 😛

When the internet became a thing, we didn’t think about the consequences.  (Same thing as nuclear bombs and plastics and asbestos and cell phones and, and well, pretty much everything we invent.)  It’s new, so it must be good, right?

I’ve always been a private person, even as a kid.  Probably due in large part to my lack of social skills, but also because I’m an introvert, and being around a lot of people is mentally and emotionally exhausting for me.  I don’t like, nor do I want, everyone knowing my business.

So, why am I on the internet, you ask?  Good question.  I suppose because I get something out of blogging that I can’t find anywhere else, and also because the benefits to me outweigh the risks.

I think of myself as a normal person, but my sister constantly teases me about my tinfoil hat.  I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any means, but I don’t think it’s wrong to try and limit the potential risks of being online.

I pay bills online, I blog, I am hopefully at some point soon going to open an online Etsy shop.  But I do try to keep my real life and my online life as separate as I can.  Is that weird?  Do other people not do this?

I have a cell phone, but I really only use it for texting and (gasp!) phone calls.  I do have an email account on it, but that’s pretty much it.  I have a few apps (less than 5) that I have installed, most of the rest of the stuff on the phone are things that came with the phone that I can’t delete.

I don’t really do social media.  I used to have a Facebook, but I do not like their lack of ethics, so I deleted it years ago.  I don’t have an Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or anything else.  I don’t like someone else (whether it’s a person or an algorithm) deciding for me what I should see and when.

Maybe because I grew up without the internet, being without those things doesn’t bother me.  On the other hand, my children, who have definitely grown up with the internet, don’t really do social media either.  They text their friends, and they play online games.  But neither one of them have a Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or Snapchat or whatever other new shiny has popped up lately.

As more and more information comes out about how companies are using data in unethical ways, I find myself trying even harder to maintain the separation between my real life and my online life.  Which, admittedly, is becoming more and more difficult.  Not only because so many companies are trading data as a commodity, but also because the people who use the internet (you know, us regular people), value authenticity.  (That’s what the prevailing wisdom says, anyway.)  Is it possible to be authentic and still keep your real life separate from your online life?

You Can’t Know Everything

You can’t know everything – a fact which frustrates me often. Take today, for example. I was doing some research to see what counted as views on my blog. Because WordPress has set up this fantastic Reader which lets me follow and comment on all the millions of blogs out there, so surely using it helps the people I’m following, right? And vice versa?

Turns out, not so much. From what I was able to find, the answer about whether it’s counted as view is – it depends. But essentially, unless I go to the actual URL of a blog/site, it probably isn’t counted as a view. Which I get. But then, why have the Reader? Convenience, sure, but is that enough?

So then I thought – well, what if I use Feedly (that’s still around, right? Or did I just date myself?) or some other RSS aggregator? That would count as view since I have to actually put in the blogs/sites I want to follow, surely.

Nope.

Viewing a site using RSS doesn’t count. I think.

You know, I’m an educated person and, I’d like to think, a fairly quick learner. But I can’t know everything. Dealing with the internet makes me think I have to. It seems like there is never a straight-forward answer, and what answers there are contain a bunch of jargon that I don’t understand.

With all the wonders the internet has provided (including memes and hilarious animal videos), following blogs I like all in one place, while also providing a view to those blogs doesn’t seem like a huge undertaking, does it? I’m not a tech person, so there’s probably nuances to this issue I don’t understand or haven’t thought of.

So, for now, this will have to be one of those topics that doesn’t make sense to me. I could spend more time doing research, but it will probably frustrate me and it’s not a topic I want to spend a lot of time on. I mean, views are nice, but they are not the reason I started this blog. I will use the Reader to follow other blogs that interest me, and I hope others are doing the same. If it doesn’t count as a view on my blog, it’s not the end of the world for me.

Organic growth is what I’m hoping for – that what I put out here has some value to others and that my writing speaks for itself. If it doesn’t, and it fails, then that’s another lesson for me, right?