I create context. I also write blog posts:

Facebook Issues Aren't About Privacy; They're About Trust

Posted: May 28th, 2010 | Author: | Tags: | 2 Comments »

So the whole Facebook-making-huge-privacy-changes thing has hit the fan. Everybody’s writing about it (I did) now. And suddenly the cool thing to do is to play the contrarian role, with all sorts of “what did you expect?!” articles being written. And they’re not entirely wrong. But they’re not entirely right either.

Here’s the basic premise of most of those articles:

Facebook is a business. It exists to share information — more specifically, the information of its users. In doing so, sometimes users won’t like who gets access. But that’s the nature of the information-sharing business and you’re naive if you don’t get that.

Tough to disagree with, right? And a further point would go on to say that users voluntarily provide that information, knowing full well that it would be shared.

Again, tough to disagree with.

But here’s where that argument loses: users shared that information under certain pretenses. They want to share photos with family and friends. They want to keep in touch with each other when everybody goes away to different colleges, or when “the real world” gets in the way of those day-to-day interactions that used to be possible. And a lot of people wanted to meet complete strangers. That’s all great. And there are varying levels of protection each user can set to share their info with whatever group of people they’re trying to reach.

Link to New York Times story: "Facebook Privacy: A Bewildering Tangle of Options"But every time Facebook messes with its privacy policy, those options get a little more complicated, and the default settings become a little more open (see graphic at the right: it’s a link to a NY Times article on the changes to Facebook’s privacy policy — interesting point: Facebook’s policy is now over 1,000 words longer than the US Constitution). So even if you originally joined and allowed you profile to be viewed by any other member, chances are, you didn’t think was going to be searchable on Google. But as of April, the default account is entirely viewable by anyone with an internet connection (see image below, and click for a link to see the chronology of Facebook’s widening privacy stance.)
BusinessInsider.com: The Evolution of Privacy on Facebook
So here’s the real issue: millions of Facebook users — hundreds of millions, actually — signed on and created a profile — willingly sharing their information the entire time — with the understanding of exactly who was able to access it.

What wasn’t part of this understanding? Well, the thought that Facebook, once a social networking site that shut out anyone without an “.edu” email address, would sell the data to companies and allow outsiders access to valuable marketing data and personal information.
They probably didn’t think that Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, would be quite so cavalier in his use of their information, though apparently he has always known where things are headed, according to this IM conversation from a nineteen Zuckerburg, talking to a friend about his newly designed “Facebook”:

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

Zuck: Just ask.

Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?

Zuck: People just submitted it.

Zuck: I don’t know why.

Zuck: They “trust me”

Zuck: Dumb fucks.

Read more.

People didn’t think about those things. Is it because they’re naive? Perhaps. But it’s also because those things weren’t a part of the original relationship between Facebook and its users. It’s clear that to Facebook, that relationship isn’t nearly as valuable as giving access to outsiders.

The contrarians are right: privacy isn’t the issue. Information was willingly shared. It’s the relationship itself that is the issue; that Facebook, which was designed to facilitate relationships, doesn’t get how big of a trust issue this is makes me think that it’s Mark Zuckerburg who’s naive.

Housesitting: Day 2

Posted: May 25th, 2010 | Author: | Tags: | No Comments »

(I know, I know… I’m on Day 4 right now, which means, not surprisingly, I’m behind on this. Oh well.)

  • Last night, I dreamt that I was in high school again or something, and that because we had a house all to ourselves, we threw a massive party (apparently, it didn’t occur to my subconscious that we already have an apartment all to ourselves and that we can do that anytime we wanted). It was like the type you see in movies, beer everywhere, people everywhere (i.e. not the type of party I’ve ever thrown, if you can believe that! …you can.). But toward the end of the dream, it dawned on me that I was responsible for cleaning the place up the next day. My dream self was bummed.
  • But when I woke up this morning, I was happy to report that it was all in my head, that the house is as pristine as when I went to bed. However, I still woke up with a headache. Dumb.
  • I mentioned last night that we moved the dog’s bed from the living room to the basement, where he slept for the first half of the night — before going off to bark at squirrels at about 4 AM. Well, I come upstairs this morning, and he’s lying in the ottoman next to where the bed should be, as if to say “it was here yesterday, where could it have gone?!”
  • I moved it back but now he’s on the bed in the master bedroom and won’t budge.
  • Tons, TONS of books in every room in the house. Fiction, literature (there’s a difference!), politics, science… everything. This is how my house is going to be.
  • Tons, TONS of birds around in the back yard. On first count, four birdfeeders. UPDATE: New estimates have the number of visible birdfeeders at 6.
  • Watched The Lion King tonight — on VHS! The cats were in the room the entire time; they weren’t at all interested. Disappointing.

  • Vacation: Housesitting: Day 1

    Posted: May 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Tags: | 3 Comments »

    Came to the house straight from work for my first hours of duty:
    The animals look suspicious. They keep staring at me as I wander around the house, exploring my new living situation for the next 6 days. They think I’m a dope.

    15 minutes later
    The dog seems to like me. Perhaps he, unlike the cats, understands that I’m the reason he’s going to eat this week. Lying on the floor by my feet right now. The cats are watching him. Their eyes are calling him a traitor.

    Left to go back to the apartment to pack some clothes for the next few days
    Came back two hours later and they’re all in the same spot. I think they’re up to something.

    10 minutes later
    I think the dog just farted.

    Dog’s still lying next to me on the floor by the couch
    I’m going to get Teddy (dog) to respond to “Tedster” by the end of the week.

    Nearing bedtime
    Cat just tried to get into a package of Oreos. Nuh uh.

    The Tedster normally sleeps in the master bedroom, but w nobody occupying it, we moved one of his beds (right, dude’s got muliltiple beds throughout the house!) to the basement in case his sleeping preference was dictated not by room choice but by proximity to human beings. So he comes lumbering downstairs, sniffs something and catches the trail like the best of crime-fighting dogs, chases the trail around the basement, and winds up on his mat. He spins around, sniffing and getting to know the mat, as if to say “how did this get here?! I have the same one up stairs? Where did this come from?!” before plopping down and falling asleep.


    Posted: May 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Tags: | No Comments »

    So, I’m on “vacation.” Or, as others would call it, “housesitting.” Which I suppose is a better term, as I still have to go to work and write every day. But it’s cool, because I’m doing it from someone else’s house for a few days. The main reason they need Kelsey and me to do this is because they have two cats and a dog that need to be fed and let out and a bunch of plants that need to be taken care of. So we’ve moved into the basement, and we’ll be here all week.

    Now, if you know me, I’m not crazy about animals. I’m coming around on dogs, but everything else is pretty “meh” to me. (I don’t dislike them, I would just prefer to stay out of their way if they stay out of mine.) So seeing as this is might be a long week, I’m gonna keep a running log of observations. Hopefully, I’ll be around on Day 6 to wrap up…

    Creation & Consumption

    Posted: May 18th, 2010 | Author: | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

    About two weeks ago, I polished and finished off a script that I had been working on since July of 2008, started just after I arrived in LA under the guidance of my mentor, Adam Mazer. I had actually “finished” the script about six months ago, burnt out on the one idea that had remained central in my head for so long. I took the interim to write new scripts (a short, one-act play and a few other little ideas, and then the first act of a new project) and figure out what’s coming next — I also moved to Long Island, got a new job, and developed and launched the social media efforts of a small store in the Hamptons. I picked up my script, The Bellerophon Project, about a month ago because I wanted to submit it to a contest or two, and there were a few sections I wanted to rework. But that was it. I honestly don’t have another original idea in my head anymore, considering I wrote numerous drafts, threw out plenty of perfectly good scenes, and read and reread the entire thing at least a dozen times — a lot when you figure that the final product comes in at just over 135 pages.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Thought of the Day!

    Posted: May 14th, 2010 | Author: | Tags: , | No Comments »

    Like a rock! (Not my actual car)

    Today, I was driving home from work and I was thinking,

    my car has almost 57,000 miles on it, and I haven’t had it in for a checkup in over a year (about 20,000 miles later…). I should do that soon.

    But then I thought:

    Wait a minute… I haven’t had a physical in over *6* years.

    And I’m worried about taking my car in for a checkup? That’s messed up.

    The moral here: our bodies should come with 100,000 mile warranties.

    Thought Of The Day!

    Posted: May 10th, 2010 | Author: | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

    Captain Hook would be terrified...
    The world spins at approximately 1,038 miles per hour, completing a full rotation in the span of one day, or 24 hours. But really, it doesn’t, ’cause time is man-made, and though the world spins, it doesn’t know how fast it’s spinning. It’s just meant to do that. Time is a device we use to stay sane and coordinate actions and keep everybody on the same page. And while Greenwich is the agreed-upon center of time, the world doesn’t know that either. There’s no one area on the planet where time is controlled, or anchored, or spawns from. So my thought of the day is this:

    What exactly are “atomic clocks” syncing with?

    6 Top Notch NHL Commercials

    Posted: May 5th, 2010 | Author: | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

    The NHL hasn’t done much right in the past few years, from replacing ESPN with Versus to implementing the shootout to supporting bankrupt teams in non-traditional markets. But one thing they always seem to nail are commercials come playoff time. Here are my favorite campaigns:

    History Will Be Made:

    This year’s campaign focuses on the moments in the past that have made history. The campaign, aside from offering a nostalgic feel, have been updated throughout these playoffs, capturing new moments that will never be forgotten .

    Every Second Counts:
    The NHL Playoffs are the longest, hardest tournament in sports. No other trophy requires of its champions so much endurance, pain, and sweat.

    The Coach:
    The NHL Network ran these promos a few seasons ago, poking fun at the complexities of the sport.

    Is This The Year:
    Famous photos come to life as the NHL asks players “Is This The Year?” This particular promo features Sidney Crosby, following a loss in the Stanley Cup Finals the year before at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings. He and the Penguins went on to defeat the Red Wings in a rematch that year.

    NHL Players Are Just Like You:

    This was one of my favorite campaigns. The NHL has attempted a few lines of humorous commercials, with this one topping the rest.

    Cup Raise:

    And finally, my favorite. It’s every hockey player’s dream to raise the Cup above his head. It’s something they all pretend when they’re kids, and only few get to do in real life…

    {That one makes me all fuzzy inside}

    The Downfall of Facebook

    Posted: May 4th, 2010 | Author: | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

    The downfall of Facebook will be because they crossed a line of trust and implemented features/crossover that people didn’t want/weren’t expecting. They’ve already faced privacy issues, and as more people comment on how they’re shocked to see their personal information pop up on external sites, they’re going to be more and more concerned. The next “Facebook” will be about privacy, more responsive to the needs/desires of it’s users… Until it too becomes controlled by someone trying to find a way to monetize/exploit it, and then again something bigger and better will come along.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Beer Me

    Posted: May 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

    It used to be, my brother and I would get home from school before either of my parents got home. And then, at about 5 o’clock, dad would come home, change his clothes, and crack open a beer. I didn’t think anything of it, same way I didn’t think anything of lounging on the couch (Jason always got the La-Z-Boy) and watching two episodes of Saved By The Bell every afternoon when I got off the bus.

    Being in Rochester, we were close enough to the border that Canadian beers weren’t imports. They were practically considered local. So dad, when he wasn’t drinking Genny Cream Ale (I remember one of the first ads I could read at Amerks games: Boy Could I Go For A Genny Now!) would drink Molson Canadian or Labatt Blue. Just one, before dinner while he watched the financial shows, to relax after a long day at work. That’s what he did — and maybe still does — every day.

    Anyways, I didn’t think much about it until today, because there wasn’t much to think about. We’ve all got our little daily routines. But today, it’s almost 5 o’clock, I’m sitting down after a long day, and I opened the fridge. Sitting right there in front of me, looking pretty as a peach: a dozen longneck bottles of Molson Canadian. So I’m gonna go have one, kick my feet up, and relax after a long day.

    Cheers, dad.

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