August 6, 2008

Reach Out and Stalk Someone

I recently fired up my LinkedIn account and started adding connections. With my connections, and the 2nd and 3rd degree connections that allows, my network now has over 234,000 people in it. Are you kidding me? I just got started and already I have a quarter of a million people to feed and care for? I do not know how I will ever keep in touch with all of them. Christmas cards do not seem a viable option. Almost none of them have ever read this blog; almost all of them never will. I have a couple of hundred Facebook friends, and with their friends, I am not sure how big the network of people I can reach, but it is probably quite large. Most of them never have nor ever will read this blog either. I am still not using my Twitter account as it was envisioned to be used, not sure I am hardwired to do so. A Facebook friend and fellow DTS student, John Saddington has also got me looking at JesusTweet and QuietTime.TV. And there is a lot more options, sites and services out there that I have not and will not even try. I need an assistant to handle my social media obligations and responsibilities. I didn't want to work this hard; I was supposed to be retired.

But what I realize is that all of this gives one the unique ability to check, at least superficially, on thousands of lives. Maybe see a few photos, scan a job history, learn likes and dislikes, make a wall post poking my nose into other folks business. In addition, I can parse out snippets of my life in status updates, photos or notes I can write (like this one). For an aging boomer, this is a brave new world. For someone trained as a financial manager, training that stressed the desirability of keeping information private, this is a strange new world.

It also makes me wonder if anyone is watching me. If they are watching my life, I feel sorry them. Should they worry? If they are watching my life, should I care? Social media is a growing and evolving field. I do not think we understand neither all the ramifications, nor all the applications yet. But it is interesting to watch. As long as we all watch and not stalk. I'll have my assistant look into that.


Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,

Well, as someone who is linked to you through Linked-In, I can tell you that I have read most of your blog posts and I don't require any care and feeding, not even a Christmas card.

I am happy to see that you have found a passion in retirement. Your words seem softer and more relaxed now. You are obviously happier and more content.

I wish you all the best!

Pat Marshall

Andy C said...


Thanks! Every once and a while the NY sense of humor takes hold. What can I say? I'm glad you have seen a change, I am glad to have experienced it.
Best to you as well.

ryan said...

I've shared your concern from time to time. Obviously our friends over at Dateline have done their share of "investigative reporting" on the issue.
To some degree I've decided that it's ok for someone to stalk me on the web. Hopefully I'll say something that will connect with them and get their brain moving - or else, maybe they'll find me a lot less interesting than they thought.
My biggest complaint - though I won't voice it on my own blog - is "lurkers." That is people who do read and (sometimes) care about what I have to say and yet don't respond. I think that for any of this stuff to really have lasting value we need to be engaged in conversation (as it has allowed for you and I).

Andy C said...

Ryan: Good point. I had not really focused on the lurker, but I do see your concern. I hope those that read my blogposts are willing to comment and converse. I encourage them to do so.