Facebook keeps messing with its users’ privacy. But that doesn’t concern me very much. I know that everything you put on the internet is visible, more or less, to some people you wouldn’t choose to see it. Also, I feel that people should have consistent personalities throughout their lives, and that the best way to get openness and community back from the world is to approach everything with a sense of openness and community. That means sharing your consistent self to a reasonable extent on Facebook. What’s a “reasonable extent”? That’s up to you. But I restrict most things to some combination of Friends, networks, and “friends of friends”, with only a few things visible to the dreaded “Everyone”. How you manage your Facebook privacy is up to you. Go tinker with the settings.
In general, I think there’s a peculiar tendency in our rapid-communication culture to feed fear, notably in the arenas of child abduction, privacy issues, immigration, and foreign policy. Fear is the root of all evil. I think encouraging fear is silly and irresponsible. So let’s cast off our fears, like New Yorkers do after every new terrorism scare. Let’s count our blessings, our reasons to be thankful and cheerful (though maybe not as literally and cheesily as that article does).
To be sure, the world is not an entirely bright and shiny place; there is hate, there is fear, there is corruption, there is poverty, there is careless greed. But there is also innovation and empathy, volunteering and social get-togethers, creativity and passion, intelligent young folks and knowledgeable old folks. No, the world is not fair, but which side of the coin you choose to look at is up to you. I choose to look at the better side, which is our best hope for solving the problems of the other side. I hope you’ll join me in that positive outlook.