Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Profiles and Memberships

Tuesday I finally started a LinkedIn profile. All I could think about while I was filling out my information was about how many times I have done this. Facebook, Summitpost, American Alpine Club (you can't see that profile unless you're a member), my resume, my blog profile, RunningAhead, Youtube, Google (yes they have profiles too), Wikipedia, WPI Materials Science graduate student website, and Flotrack. That's 12 profiles that I have. Most are readily accessible and and the others you can get in one email.

Is this ridiculous!? I mean each one of these is it's own little social network. Each one asks for more or less the same stuff. Each one is a way to be in contact with people without actually seeing them face to face. Does all of this serve any purpose? Is it worth the time?

It gets even more frustrating when you think about all the bank accounts I have online. I did the math a few days ago and I have ten loans (including credit cards with a zero balance) and four checking accounts. Then there are those sites where you have to log in but you don't have a profile, like phone bills and online stores.

All together I have or have had at least nine different passwords. I know I did this to myself but I don't feel alone on this. In 2008 (way in the past) Americans consumed 3.6 zettabytes. That is 3.6 million million gigabytes. That is 34 gigabytes per person per day not including work. Browsing through this study there are some interesting trends. TV has always been a big source of information. When it grew after the 50s it took away information from print. With the growth of the internet both print and TV are waning as sources of information. Another interesting aspect of the study was how much of the information we receive is visual. That is TV, movies, and video games give us all sorts of information. Text and spoken words contrastingly contain very little information. For example think of the two megabyte picture you took compared to the 20 kilobyte email you wrote. 100 times more information in the picture than the email. Sometimes it just seems overwhelming.

All of these groups want my email address. They all want my time. They want my attention. They want money. They want to succeed, however that is defined.

I will leave you with a quote that Groucho Marx apparently rephrased from John Galsworthy, "Please accept my resignation. I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member."

I'm not quitting anything, but it's food for thought. Where does it stop? I am only one person. I have only one personality. Why should I express myself on 12 different websites?

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