When starting a Facebook account, as a late adopter, wondered about the instant social network and whether the pressure to be “up” and “interesting” in such context might have a downside. Found that there was a psychological state identified as “Facebook depression”.
Later wrote about an apparently homeless person and multiple police attendance during a walkby to work.
Neil Remington Abramson linked the two stories, as follows (correspondence reproduced with permission):
I read a story once about how Facebook and other interactive media were an instrument for national security. Funny how they have developed with such intensity in the years after 9/11, when we became obsessed with the unseen threat. If companies can pay to dredge your data, why not the FBI, or CIA, or CSIS, or even the Ottawa police? If companies are up on your every recent move, why not the forces that protect us so vigilantly from threats near and far?
This morning I looked at an ad for a $260 tea maker. Not 30 minutes later, based on my recent viewing history, Amazon was trying to sell me a tea maker for only $95! Amazon had quickly figured out that there was no way I was going to spring for $260 for something that did the work that a $30 Walmart coffee maker could do. Very efficient; I was impressed.
I suppose you will say your apparently homeless man probably didn’t have a Facebook account. But what if he was a desperate Facebook investor, thousands of dollars now lost, following the initial public offering? A former investment tycoon, driven to death by poverty, perhaps, and the police were merely involuntarily committing him, until he could be rehabilitated as a Starbucks server?
Maybe they saw warning signs on his Facebook page? You never know. However, most likely Facebook (and, perhaps, Amazon) knows, even if you don’t. The Ottawa Police, too?
Thank goodness there is Facebook, for people to broadcast the intimate private details of their lives. Their loneliness is the basis of our (and their) safety.