Most of us, I think, expect to be considered to be ‘in charge of our own life.’
I try to think that about myself. I know my wife does – she’s told me so. Both of us accept that there has to be an element of rational mutual agreement that makes this possible.
But we both know where these agreements lie and how we arrived at them. It was an extended negotiation that neither of us really knew we were involved in over so many years.
That said, why don’t Google or Amazon know this? Why don’t Telus and my mobile telephone know this? Why doesn’t my laptop computer know this? Why doesn’t my security system know this? Why doesn’t Facebook know this?
If I was able to ask these entities as ‘real people’ they would probably all have the same answer – “because you asked us to take care of this for you.”
“No I didn’t,” I’d say, obviously and emphatically!
“Yes you did,” they’d reply.
“When?” I’d ask.
They would say: “When? Remember when you clicked ‘I agree’? Remember you entered your e-mail address and ‘signed up’?”
“Well, yes, I did – but I did not sign up for you to track me, or to send me advertising or unsolicited reminders.” They would say: “Well, yes you did! Remember when you said you’d read the ‘privacy agreement’?”
“Well, I glanced at it – but it didn’t say you could fill my inbox with promotions, solicitations from political parties asking for donations to help get rid of Harper – now Trudeau – or Horgan.”
I don’t think it said anywhere that Amazon would be able to remind me, over and over that I ordered and bought this book, that laptop battery or that particular shower head.
Or that Facebook could re-post a memory for me.
They frequently re-post jokes they say I posted two years ago. I laugh like I was reading it for the first time – because most times I think I am.
I never asked them to celebrate the date that I became friends with this or that person, or to make up little videos of pictures I once posted.
But they do it – I have to agree to the re-post, at least, and frequently I do not.
I am saying that far too many of us have too easily permitted these entities into our lives, opened our doors to them and, in point of fact, asked them to make themselves at home.
And that is really where they want to be – in my home, knowing all about me, and able to tell me just about anything that they want me to hear.
And to charge me money for the privilege.
Right now – I’m thinking I have been overly accommodating and they’ve taken far too much advantage of the open door.
My telephone, the mobile one, is another good example. It seems to have a life of its own. You can control it – but it’s a tough fight.
I know I can’t keep ads off it – even with two ad blockers.
Google gets to me – there’s a teeny-weenie little X there that I can hit to close it or block it – then I’m in a conversation I never asked for about why I don’t want to see it – and no matter what I say it’s throw-away answer is – “We’ll try not to show you this ad again.”
Well, good, that place is three thousand miles away and I don’t want or need to buy anything from there.
As a true matter of fact (are there untrue facts? – no forget I asked that) I know I spend a great deal of my time, more than is reasonable, deleting things from my life. It annoys me – mostly because, yes, I did open the door.
I did ‘agree’ and sign on, unaware of the consequences. Right now I have begun a campaign of unsubscribing before deleting. That’s just my e-mail, which was, frankly, getting out of hand.
Yes, I am to blame – but certainly not completely.
The internet, business, Amazon, Facebook, etc. also need to accept their share of the blame, But – they are in business to make money – I have some and they want it.
With that understood more clearly, you (my happy readership) and I, can move on.
As I sign off, I know you all know where you can reach me. It’s above – and I’m in the book.