Tuesday, February 17, 2009

NPR - Chasing Friends

I'm not one for a lot of friends, but the ones I have I value very much. I'm more of a quiet introvert (like there's a loud one?) and alone person, but I enjoy the greater diversity of people. I don't have friends because they have similar likes, work, lives or views as me, but more the opposite. I like people who are comfortable being themselves and value openness and honesty, and don't mind a good conversation about everything in life, the world and the universe.

If I have any criteria about friends, mostly that limits my friendship or even restricts being friends, it's personality traits which are offensive to me, like arrogance with indifference, or worse hatred, to others. And no one likes an asshole. Well, except maybe other assholes as I've seen in life. What I'm saying is that I don't mind friends, like me, holding strong beliefs and values about something, I expect them to be open to challenge and discuss, especially with a smile and humor.

You see, the key is that holding a strong belief shouldn't make you immune to being open to others and especially the opposite view. It's about knowing your views are just that, yours, no better or worse than anyone else's, as theirs is equally valuable for them. It's the old adage about taking your issues seriously but not taking yourself seriously.

Anyway, I wandered. My point here is with the Internet to keep up with friends you have to be on all these Websites. A friend in Texas was only available on MySpace, so I joined, and then she left. I have all of 5 friends on MySpace but about a dozen or so people who subscribe to my blog there (infrequent there as I've moved to eBlogger).

I joined Yahoo groups to belong to some groups that interest me and follow friends there. Then the group owner killed the group leaving the rest of the membership high and dry. And some groups started have pretty much withered into almost emptiness as the date of the last post falls farther and father in the past. And to date only a few are really active, and those are often the tech/gearheads groups where only those people find solace with others talking such minute details of things.

And now I had to join Facebook. I don't like Facebook. I don't like the arrogance of the founders to assume they can do anything with your information without your permission, including sell you to any commercial interests or the rest of the world. Sharing is one thing, indiscriminate sharing by them is offensive.

And now I read about the Terms of Service (TOS) where they assume use rights of your intellectual property, such as videos, audio files, photos/images, etc., for any purpose for the advancement of Facebook. What angers me is that they require you to be member to view others' Facebook pages and then take your information for their own use as assumed when you sign up.

It reminded of a scene an a movie where a CIA agent goes to rent an old discarded US Army helicopter from a local (South American) aircraft dealer.

The man asks, "How much to rent?'
The dealer replies, "Two million dollars."
The man says, "I only want to rent it. How much?"
The dealer replies, "Two million dollars."

The man realizes he has to buy it. That's what Facebook does, holds you hostage for what they offer. I personally doubt most people care about this policy and giving their intellectual property to Facebook, but I know they would if they discovered Facebook was making money on their work without their knowledge or compensation, because that's what they can do.

But I joined to follow some friends who are only there. But don't hold your breath if you expect me to post photos/images there or anything more than updates to what I'm doing. I joined to follow friends, not share my entire life. But it's the new reality of being, and yes, it allows folks at Facebook to be assholes about people's propety. I accept it but I don't have to help them.

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