Stalkers, beware.

Secretly crushing on your coworker? Your roommate’s boyfriend? Your high school ex? C’mon, it happens…we ALL know that there’s a person or two that strikes your fancy that may not be ‘societally acceptable’.  (Not to me, of course. I’m the picture of propriety.) However, if you do find yourself in that situation and are on Friendfeed, I warn you – proceed with caution.

Friendfeed, for those of you not immersed in the Web 2.0 Social Media Internet clusterfuck like I am, is a web aggregator that behaves similar to an RSS feed of your activity on social media sites. You enter in your profile name for services like Twitter, Upcoming, Tumblr, even your personal blog, and it creates a running summary of your activity on those sites. You can follow your friends (or people you find yourself unnaturally obsessed with) and see what they’ve been up to. (Check out mine in case you need an example.)

Further, Friendfeed provides a medium to start and contribute to conversations. With Twitter, people ask questions or make comments, and the common way to respond is by sending another Tweet with the "@" sign to show that you are replying to them. Tools like Summize allow you to track these in conversations, but Friendfeed goes one step further by removing the 140 character limit (though you can choose to also respond via Twitter if you want) and allows people to comment, indicate that they like the post, forward it on or even easily repost it. Pretty cool for people who are fully entrenched within the world of social media and use these services as a way to engage & connect with others.

THAT SAID, see my warning above to proceed with caution, as you may be revealing your secrets without intending to. Most of the applications you include are harmless – well, relatively, unless you don’t want people knowing about your webbed foot fetish as indicated on Del.icio.us – but Flickr provides the biggest risk. Besides posting the photos you have recently uploaded – which people can already see in the "Photos from your Contacts" view on your website – it also posts a notification when you ‘favorite’ a photo. Again, this information is easily found by going to each individual user’s "favorites" link, but currently isn’t something that’s readily accessible. So if you were to, say, favorite a photo of your Supah Secret Lovah or Former Douchebag Ex who you just aren’t over, Friendfeed will take that little nugget and blast it to your 8,948,380 ‘followers’ whether you like it or not.

While I’m a fan of the service, I will be a bit more trepidatious on my Flickr activity (not that I have anything to hide except, perhaps, a glimpse inside my tendency towards narcissism. But you all knew that anyway.) Still, maybe Friendfeed needs a new slogan or tagline. How about: "Friendfeed: Outing illicit trysts since 2008"?

7 thoughts on “Stalkers, beware.

  1. Nice post.I just started using FriendFeed and like it very much but yes, my life is pretty much transparent. It makes me ask the question, will my online behavior change because I know it’s being blasted everywhere? For instance, will I participate less in networks like Twitter or Flickr as a result of all of this aggregation?

  2. When it comes to social networks, pretty much everything we do can be accessed by anybody. For example, this post and these comment can be seen by anybody who comes here.
    There are few exceptions like Facebook where people can turn most features on and off.
    Concerning Flickr and del.icio.us, they both allow users to set their photos and bookmarks private.

  3. Slowly limping into Friendfeed, and feel like this transparency issue is going to keep increasing – and making sketchy dudes/chix all the more visible…and make our crushes that much more easy for all to see.

  4. I try to limit my personal photos on flickr, if people want to see them I host them locally on my home computer….I’m less worried about the stalker, then the person who will photoshop it and put it into something that could hurt my future career.

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