It’s easy.  To the right of this post (assuming you’re reading it here) is a link to my Google+ profile. And there you have it: my entire social media presence, as of this writing.

Wait… what about Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Valid questions. Everyone Knows™ that Everyone Who Is Anyone™ is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Well, for the most part, I am not on any of those. My opinion of almost all social media is summed up in this cartoon:

Facebook may be the worst of this bunch. It’s Facebook that motivated the truism, “If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer. You’re the product being sold.” Although this applies to all social media, Facebook seems to be the most shameless at it, and is by far also the most successful. So while I have a Facebook account, it spends most of its time in the Disabled state. It is in that state now and has been since mid-November of 2014. “Disabled” is a wonderful thing for a Facebook account to be. It’s the one state where you have absolute control over what others can do to the account. Because what they can do is: nothing! Not until you log in and thus re-enable it. You maintain an unused Facebook account as Disabled so that your name remains associated with an account you control. This makes it a little more difficult for someone to impersonate you.


Twitter: I sort-of lied about not being on Twitter. I have two or three Twitter accounts. I can’t remember because my Twitter accounts tend to get created and then abandoned or deleted for throwaway purposes. Every now and then I encounter a link to something worth gawking at for 3 seconds, and that something happens to be located on Twitter. So I have one that I keep logged in. It’s just easier to be logged in so as not to be hassled to log in. The popovers get more aggressive by the week, don’t they? Anyway, I think the last time I tweeted from any of my accounts was in a month beginning with ‘J’. June, perhaps?

I was an avid user of LinkedIn until they got more insistent on having a look at my contacts in GMail. In fact they got extremely insistent on this, and would not take “No” for an answer. One day the suggestions for people I should invite started including lots of email addresses that looked really familiar to me. There were people I hadn’t been in touch with for years, some of them over ten years. There were some email addresses in domains that no longer exist. There were email addresses with obvious typos that replicated my own errors. There were, in fact, addresses that LinkedIn could only have gotten from my contacts file in GMail.

Did LinkedIn simply take them without permission? Or did I have click-fatigue from responding NO to yet another beg from LinkedIn for my contacts? I may have accidentally clicked something worded like, “I do not refuse you permission to not demur from scraping my GMail address book; now please leave me the f* alone.” I don’t know for sure. So I am not accusing LinkedIn of not demurring from scraping my GMail address book without my not refusing it permission to not decline to do so.

I have, however, almost succeeded it in persuading it to leave me the f* alone. I deleted my account as thoroughly as I could in October 2013. Just recently a friend helped me check that LinkedIn does not in fact admit to knowing of me. This doesn’t keep me from getting LinkedIn “I would like to add you to my professional network” spam. But that is either pure spam, or it’s from people who know me from maybe one meeting. They are abusing my easy-to-figure-out email address.After reading all this rant about how awful social media sites are, you are more than justified in wondering, David, why are you on Google+? Well, from the negative side: if Google is abusing all the information they have on me, they are damned subtle about it. At least so far, it appears that the worst abuse of Google is to feed you targeted ads based on what it knows. Um, OK.  I run a couple of ad-blockers and Google is (again, so far) uncomplaining about them. As for all the information I am giving Google by partaking of G+? Look: I have had an Android phone for five years and a GMail account for ten. Does anyone seriously think Google needs my G+ stream to learn about me?

On a positive note, I find that Google+ has a unique approach to social networking. You organize your presence based not on who you work with or went to high school with, but on what you’re interested in. Then, people with similar interests find each other naturally. In exact opposition to how I react to any of the others, I find this stimulating and energizing.