Going Through My Underwear Drawer

I have a mild involvement with social media that doesn’t include Twitters with tweets or pictures with Pintrest.  In fact, I don’t own an Iphone…not even an Android.  A few weeks ago, I was having an unusually off day when the car I was driving started acting up and my cell phone had run out of juice unnoticed by me.  Yes, I talk on the phone so infrequently that it can use up its entire battery without my knowing.  I pulled into the nearest drive which was a tech oriented business with security coded doors…just my luck.  I walked a bit farther and found a few young gentlemen taking a cigarette break.  I explained my situation and asked to borrow a phone.  When he pulled out his Iphone, I cursed my ignorance and asked if he could show me how to make a call.  So, that is how antiquated I have allowed myself to become.

On the other hand, I have both a Facebook and LinkedIn account.  I want to keep touch with friends, family and business associates…but I limit it to a small circle.  So, if I do ‘friend’ you…you’re special or important to me.  On Facebook, I don’t like sharing my information and generally avoid all the Apps that smile back at me.  A few weeks ago I did allow one App in…Words with Friends.  Up until now, it seemed to be going fine.  I said, seemed!  Last night, I had just completed my turn and as I was clicking the window closed my eyes passed by all the advertisement on the right and I saw this…

…but the window closed before it completely registered in my mind…and when I tried to return…it was gone!

SO…What’s the big deal???

The big deal is…THAT’S ME!

Boy, how incredibly creepy is that?  I recognized the picture immediately and actually wasn’t even sure if it was one I had posted online.  I vaguely remembered about hearing that Facebook used people’s pictures in advertisements.  Did they do that to me?  I quickly looked through the pictures I had posted on Facebook and the picture I had just barely caught out of the corner of my eye was right there…right in front of all the others, like someone had recently looked at it…moving it up to the front of the queue of pictures.  Although it was listed as a profile picture, it was not the one I was currently using.  Someone had been looking through my files. Suddenly I felt like one of the characters on the television show, Person of Interest…my digital footprint was looking right back at me.  As I was headed off to bed, I quickly bookmarked a couple of sites that I wanted to explore the next morning, to find out for sure if my picture was being used in advertising.

When I awoke, I started my usual routine of browsing the Internet while I drank my morning coffee.  I had all but forgotten about my picture being posted.  I checked in with Facebook and found a message that it was my turn on Words with Friends.  So, I jumped over to the game.  Now, mind you…I use this browse time to really wake up in the morning so I don’t think very fast and it must have taken me a good half hour to find a word.  I guess I shouldn’t have played it first thing.  Anyway, having decided on my word choice I was ready to find out what was going on over at WordPress and was just starting to tab over when I saw it again!


I swear, it was just like seeing the Lockness monster…it’s there…then gone!  Was it real or did I make it up?  It’s enough to question your sanity.  But, fortunately I was able to stop the automatic motion of clicking the window closed (yes, I still use a mouse) when I saw it the second time.  Staring right back at me…was ME!  Ha, I hadn’t made it up!  And, I was able to get a closer look to read the words connected to the picture.  It said, Untitled Album, Where was this picture taken?  And, it gave me a box to add a location identifier.

I must admit that I had mixed emotions.  First I was relieved that my photo was not being used in advertising and secondly…I still had that creepy feeling of being watched.  But now I knew who was watching…Facebook.  I had definitely decided not to give the location even though anyone with any brains would have been able to identify the landmark I was standing in front of in about two seconds.  Even more odd was the fact that the picture disappeared into some ether world as soon as I brought my cursor near it…as if IT (whatever IT was,) had realized that I had seen it watching me and went into hiding.  Not only did I have a definite digital footprint but the machine was trying to get me to supply it with even more information so that it could get to know me better.  Was it trying to become my friend?  I think, NOT!

As I contemplate my participation in the free information network with all it’s conveniences and knowledge, I still have that deep down creepy feeling like someone has been rifling through my underwear drawer.  I ponder the thought of fiction becoming reality…Is Facebook the Machine as portrayed in the show Person of Interest? How far have we let Big Brother into our lives? Am I the only one who thinks this way?  Am I just becoming curmudgeonly as I grow older?  What do you think?