Anonymity, if you please

Imagine my dismay when a mere acquaintance announced that my picture was on his Facebook page. I called him a liar but when he insisted I asked why. It was because I was in a picture with two others who were his friends, and now I am immortalized on that vast, never-ending Internet world.
I’ve discovered a few other places where I’ve been posted due to activities I’m involved in or because friends thought it would be flattering. I hate it.

I would make a terrible celebrity. I don’t like people to look at me for no reason. If I’m performing or speaking in public, there is nothing I want more. But just to be gazed upon while eating pizza or wandering through the grocery store is genuinely disturbing to me.

I have always been very careful about what I post on the Internet, which is still a fairly new venue to my generation. I still remember the first time I experienced an e-mail. I was shocked, fascinated, and a little creeped out. I now use the Internet like an extension of my own arm, but I still don’t trust it.

Once something is sent out into the World Wide Web, you never get it back. You can go delete it later, but you have no control over what happened to it while it was there. It could be copied and downloaded to a hundred different sites or personal files. It can be manipulated, mislabeled and abused. The Internet is an indispensable tool, but it’s not your friend.

What is it with friends and the Internet, anyway? I will admit I have a handful of “friends” I have never actually met in person. But the whole Facebook-friend phenomenon is ridiculous. I actually met someone recently who asked if I was “on Facebook?” I said no. She replied, “well, get on Facebook and I will be your first friend.” She then made it clear that without Facebook, a friendship would be out of the question. She just didn’t have time to have an actual living, breathing friend when she was so busy keeping up with her virtual BFFs. I suppose I should be devastated at the thought of missing out on such a close, meaningful relationship, but I’m not.

So no, I don’t want to be a member of your new recipe club, or goodreads site, or any other fake group of chums. You’re welcome to join me and my friends on a bike ride up the canyon or to play laser tag this weekend; you know, actual real-life activities. But anything that requires me to register is not an option. I have a serious aversion to handing out my name, addresses and blood type to faceless entities. I’m not paranoid. I just prefer anonymity.

So, if I’m ever famous, don’t ask me for my autograph. It’s just an unreadable name scribbled on a piece of paper anyway. Don’t stare at me. Don’t take my picture, and if you do, please don’t post it on the Internet.

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