Buzzing, tweeting, now everybody can get a taste of being stalked

There is something sneaky about all this social media activity, people are turning into stalkers in their droves. Google Buzz just made this dawn on me. It can be quite uncomfortable to think that you are unwitting turning yourself into a “self strip view broadcaster”.

I’ve started buzzing, stumbling upon it’s activation at a browser restart. After a couple of days, I’m reconsidering the whole thing: why am I getting involved in all this?

Having been involved in innovations in social networking and online communities for a number of years, I was always going to try the latest stuff to see if it could help in my job. Little did I realise the slippery nature of all this. It is somewhat like “zapping” with your TV remote control, pointless but you somehow keep doing it until something urgent drag you away from the sofa. Before you know it you’ve spent a couple of hours watching the TV but seeing absolutely nothing. What a waste that is!

I started tweeting because I was too lazy to blog, it was just an excuse for me and I hoped to learn something in the process.

My idea of blogging has always been measured, I don’t like all the self broadcasting that goes with it, I didn’t want to write “hello world” program codes or regurgitate what others have been saying somewhere else.

I tried Google Wave and I never really found a reason to stick to it. I could imagine tons of use though, I just wasn’t ready for any of those – still am not.

Now I’ve joined Google Buzz, it’s giving me the goose bumps for it’s eerie stalker feeling. I never felt stalked like this before, it’s not due to my contact list or my friends activities, but rather it is the fact that I kept seeing a mirror reflection of my activities in many places of my Google account. Then you start to think: if I click on any link, it’s likely being broadcast. For someone  who is a private person by nature, this freaks me out.

A few years ago, I’d already taken a giant step by going out there and putting pictures, comments and various things online. I could always do it again, when I get a chance, and it felt ok. But, the idea that something follows me and tells the world about what I’m doing doesn’t feel right, I have no control over it. It is bad enough that this is happening, street CCTV cameras are an example, it’s much worse when you can actually see realtime the footages. That is what is troubling, and Google seemed to have thought none of that. Of course, when you’ve not known anything else you would just adapt to it.

There you go, the bucket must stop somewhere. I’ve got nothing to hide, but I don’t want to broadcast everything either. This is a case of a feature’s default option in user’s disadvantage. That is a hindrance to user acceptance from my point of view, and Google failed in this case. This case inspires me to write an architecture principle: design for acceptance, the default features and options must cater for user’s natural preferences and behaviour.

3 thoughts on “Buzzing, tweeting, now everybody can get a taste of being stalked”

  1. so, will you keep on buzzing or will you cancel your account? For the moment Google Buzz seems to be in hypergrowth.. I like it, if they can sort our real integration with Twitter and also include Facebook I will like it a lot more.. 😉

  2. It’s nice to be able to integrate these things, but I want the ability to selectively broadcast things. I think various online personas fullfil different needs, you can’t just treat them all the same way for all people. So, I might have to cancel my account, as I don’t have the level of control I’d like to have at the moment. For now I’m watching it with some apprehension, not fully trusting it as yet.

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