Happy Unbirthday or Why I Became 110 Years Old on Facebook

I admit it, I read too much.  It’s part of staying up to date in any sort of technical career.

I came across article after article about sharing online.  People share too much data about themselves. 

What they’re wearing, well that’s kind of harmless right?   No, not really if you have a stalker.  Look for that person in that shirt over there and …

What they are cooking for dinner?  I’m doing that all the time, but apparently I’m doing it right.  Why?  Well you can see what kind of furnishings you have in that kitchen.  Is there a house alarm on the window?  Good, you can break in there.

Oh look, beautiful vacation pictures!  They went to Hawaii, they won’t be back for a week.  Nice TV in the living room in the other picture. 

Not Anymore, Inspector Clouseau.

Get the picture?  Or rather you don’t?

It was one after another. 

An article was warning people about putting controversial items up on their Facebook feeds.  After all, if you are radical, your next company or even your current one won’t want you.  Nobody wants someone who rocks the boat, right?

I’ve been self editing that sort of thing for years.  I hardly ever post anything that is “out there”, usually everything is supportive, and I’m liking things more than anything else. 

That’s a problem too.  If you just Like things on Facebook, it has been shown that things get “weird”.  Your feed starts to show things that are more intense than the things you actually like.   For example, if you like animal causes like the local SPCA or Rescue, and I definitely do, you start seeing things for PETA.  PETA is “controversial” to many people because of their “radical” vegan outlook. 

“Nothing with a face” is their motto, and animals first.  They go a bit too far for me, I’m a carnivore, still.  But I do support that they are out there. 

You see the point, things keep getting more “radicalized” if you like absolutely everything.

One of the “data points” that came up recently was about identity and credit card theft.  If “they” have a few things like your name, birth date, and a few other obscure things, “they” can get you a credit card. 

For themselves.

How do they get that? 

You used to get a phone call from someone saying they were from the “Credit Card Bureau” and they would want to “verify a few details”.  You’re done if you answer that question. 

First off, YOUR credit card company would never call for that.   I have been called by one questioning whether I was really in Florida once, but yes, I was at the beach and it is a lovely day and I wanted to get something in a shop, so please do put that charge through.

One other time, it was after I ordered something from www.Rakuten.com and almost immediately started getting weird charges.  Five Minutes Later I got a call from my credit card asking me if these were valid.  Nope, and thanks!  They stopped that in the bud and I can not recommend http://www.Rakuten.com as a result

So one of the most important details they said you should never share?

Your Birthdate.

I immediately went into Facebook.  Facebook’s business is getting information from you in a “soft” matter.  It is what they are doing when you click on Like. They are building a profile of you.

It is what you signed up for, and personally I am OK with that end of it.

What I didn’t like was when I went in to hide my birthday as a recommendation of that security article, I couldn’t. 

Facebook would not let you hide your birthday from “everyone”.  You had to keep it visible to your friends.  That was the most limited you could go.  Mind you there are a lot of friends in Facebook that you collect through the years of use, and by now it really is “Years” of use, that you really don’t know.  Some of them you will never meet, and some of those that I will never meet I consider that a shame.  Some really neat people I have “met” over the years and “friended” that I will never run into, or never run into again.

Others, Who knows what they really are.  They go silent or something happens and they drop away.  You may have said something inappropriate or what have you. Can’t really say that happened much to me, but it does happen.

So I changed it.

I moved it from my real birthday to the oldest possible date I could.

January 1, 1905.

I’m expecting a nasty email from them at any day now.

So if you wished me a happy birthday yesterday, thank you, I know you care.  Or I know you had a knee jerk reaction to seeing the thing. 

I do know that those that wished me happy birthday yesterday were those who I know well, and I did appreciate the well wishes then as I appreciated them and their well wishes every day.

But it’s not my actual birthday and I am not 110 years old.

If I have to change it again, I think I will make myself 32.  I met my partner then, life was looking up, things were going into a time that just kept getting better.

I’ll stop there, I don’t want to share too much.

But Happy Unbirthday to me!

Was I right to do this?  I’ve been told I’m getting paranoid.  Perhaps I am.  I don’t know.  But I feel good about “This”.

If you are a friend and you perhaps feel a bit manipulated, I apologize completely. 

My bad.
Mea Culpa.

It was not my intent.

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