I'd vaguely heard of Foursquare, some app that tells the world where you physically are. By announcing on things like your Facebook page that you are *now* in some coffee shop or bordello or what have you. Like all update ideas, I mostly cringe. But this one is worse, of course.
I was flipping through Salon just now, something I do less and less, and stumbled through the Broadstreet section, something I do even less than that. Anyhoo. They're talking about this app, and the fact it hasn't taken off quite as its inventors anticipated.
Using your phone to announce where you are is effectively doing two things: inviting people you don't know to come find you, and telling anyone else where you aren't - at home. Didn't your mother teach you anything?
I just returned from a loop to North Bay. I do stuff for the Tourism bureau. As I left, I mentioned to a colleague that I had to gas up. He glanced at my gas tank, and said I had lots of fuel.
"No, not enough to get home," I told him.
"But you have a few hours before you have to fill up," he said.
"I will not pull into anywhere after dark," I explained. He looked at me strangely.
I finally made him understand that women traveling alone do not take stupid chances. Pulling into a rest stop after dark to fuel up is one of them. It opens you up to unknown surroundings with unknown people. And it effectively announces to anyone and everyone that you are traveling alone. No thanks. I fill the car's tank and empty my own before dark.
A few months back, I was made aware that on cell phones, unless you turned it off, taking and posting pictures would also post a notation that said precisely where that pic had been taken. It's not obvious; it's behind the picture. Webgod Jeff can explain better than I can. But tons of people were still blithely taking and posting pictures. Of their homes. Of their kid's schools. I find that rather stupid, myself.
Ari is reading George Orwell's 1984 right now, which means I'm re-reading it too. We talked about the concept of Big Brother, and how this is where the term originated. I told him he is captured on camera hundreds of times a day. He seemed surprised. But I told him as he walks down the main street in our city at lunch time every day, his image is captured nearly every step of the way. The fact we forget doesn't mean it's not happening.
For use by law enforcement, this is a good thing. If you get jumped at a cash machine, chances are good we'll be watching a clip of it on the evening news.
But announcing your moves all day to an unknown audience? Are you kidding me? You want to put a chip in your ear so you can be tagged like a border collie, go right ahead.
But you're a fool.