“I’m an open book”, said the naive person.
I USED TO be an open book online. Some even brag about it like a badge of honor. I’ve learned the hard way that this is a bad way to be online.
I remember one time I was out with friends and one of them said how they admired how I was the type of person that was always the first to try new things or to do something new instead of just following what others think or did. Another friend laughed, “yea, Jim is the dumb one that does it first and finds out all the mistakes so the rest of us don’t have to go through it”. They both were probably right.
I remember going online years ago. I was in wonder over the internet. I put in an AOL disk that I got in the mail. At 14.8, the speed at that time seemed so fast. The internet really didn’t have that many websites but I was amazed. Over time I started using things like Yahoo, EBAY and Paypal.
I have always wanted to think that everyone has good in them. In reality though it’s naive to think that way especially with people the way they are. Many people don’t have a conscious anymore. Half of marriages have spouses cheating and then coming home acting like nothing happened. People in corporations cheat in business so much it’s not even news anymore. Even Miss America’s have a sleaze factor. It’s harder to find one that doesn’t have some sort of sex tape in their past. Celebrities and athletes sleep around so much they can’t keep track of how many lovers or kids they have. All the while they walk through life with a smile and living “with no regrets”. If you have no regrets then you have lots of issues to be honest because you lack a conscience.
The internet and social media has made people dysfunctional communicators. Look at people on dates; many are texting others, looking at videos or even flirting with other people. Go to a movie theater and try to find people that aren’t texting people. We have the attention spans of puppies as well as the lack of communication skills.
Instead of relationships we use Facebook, Linkedin, and many other sites to almost “instantly” learn about someone. The problem is it’s shallow, lazy and worthless at times. It takes time to get to know people. I’ve seen people move in with others after days of meeting someone on dating sites. It’s sheer madness. We want it and we want it now. The problem is you have to build a foundation be it business or in your personal relationships, and it’s more than a profile or mouse click away.
I’ve lost my identity twice and I once was used in a scam in 2000. When Ebay first started it was fun but it was a hackers paradise. Many didn’t use firewalls and malware wasn’t even a term yet. Two German hackers got into my Ebay account and started selling high end Apple products and ended up stealing about $30,000 by having people send them money by western union.
Ebay’s customer support has always been a joke of unaccountable and clueless people but back then they were as smart as Lenny in Of Mice and Men. You can still call Ebay 4 times and get 4 different people with 4 different answers and because you can’t talk to the same person twice, they can’t be held accountable. In fact Ebay makes Comcast’s customer support look like Mother Theresa is helping you; and at that time it was so comical that it wasn’t funny. They literally had a basic email that took forever to get a response from. They didn’t have a phone number to call on the site. I literally had to look them up in the phone book, call the corporate office and go through hoops to get someone. After spending half a day trying to get EBAY to help, we figured out I had been hacked. When I first signed up for the account I followed their guidelines. I emailed them after I got hacked as a follow-up and the email they sent me asked why did I do what I did. I emailed them back their guidelines and said I did what they told me to do. They then said they were working on changing their guidelines. You can’t use accountability and Ebay in the same sentence. That is for another day though.
Again, at this time the western union scams weren’t really a thing yet. The FBI questioned me to make sure I wasn’t in on it. I got a new account but what was really funny is that I was getting emails weeks later on my old account from people begging me to take their money; even after I said it was a scam.
I remember being an open book on Facebook the last 5 years. After a while I ended up having people come to my house and work. I had one girl that I chatted with a couple of times do a search on me and found my business. One day I came into my office to see patients in the afternoon and my secretary said, “you’re girlfriend is here”. Well that was strange because at the time I didn’t have one. I walked in and this cute young girl who couldn’t have been 22 was there. I asked her what was going on. I talked to her long enough to see that her head couldn’t spin around and do a 180 like in the movie Exorcist, but I still wasn’t comfortable. Eventually I realized that she needed to go so I finally got her to leave.
One night when I was coming home from work, a man was sitting on my porch. It ended up being a patient; kind of a borderline mentally ill patient that was a pretty scary guy. It was 11:30 pm and he asked if we could talk and if he could come in. I actually saw my neighbor looking at him and I talked him into leaving and that if he was having issues that he should go to the ER.
The worst situation I had was a girl I met online and we started to talk. She lived near me and asked to meet We met a couple of times and would text and talk on the phone sometimes but just friends stuff. There was just something not right with her and my spidey sense was tingling. I told her that we should be online friends and that maybe one of these days we could meet because I was so busy. I’m not a sleazy person and I don’t sleep around and I don’t make out with every girl I meet like so many do so I was just friendly with her.
Some pretty girls rarely if ever hear the word no from a guy and she didn’t take it well. She went crazy. She started freaking out telling me who the hell did I think I was and that she could get guys 100 times better than I was. She then said I was messing with her and that no one messed with her and got away with it.
I’ve always tried dating the sweet and non stuck up girl next door types so the psycho high maintenance I’m going to kill you type of girls was never my thing. When I saw that in people I would usually flee. Well after she hung up on me I was glad we wouldn’t be talking anymore.
At about 12:30 am I began to get texts. Now I have a lot of friends that text me at that time because they are night owls and usually bored; but this was different. It was a girl asking to meet and have sex. She then began to talk about things that we can do that I’m not quite sure are physically possible; I mean I looked it up and I don’t think those parts go together or can bend that way but I still could be wrong. Anyways, I texted her back saying she had the wrong guy and said to stop texting me.
Times have soooooo changed. Don’t get me started on all the videos and photos young women have sent me. lol I remember in high school I had to use mad skills to get my girlfriends to be sexually active but today many young girls and women just need air to breath to get that way. Class is as rare as a corporation that doesn’t have a scandal. It just blows me away how people can send near strangers naked photos of themselves and even videos. It’s both dumb and risky at the same time. Some diseases are incurable and ALL of the photos and videos you send someone are also infinitely on the internet.
I’ve had teens lie about their age saying they are older and then start talking sex or try to send me stuff. It’s beyond creepy. I had nightmares of Chris Hansen from NBC’s to catch a predator knocking on my door asking me how’s it going? In my opinion any parent not on EVERY social media outlet of their under age kids is an irresponsible parent, but that’s for another day.
I realized then that between big business pimping out our web surfing habits, our purchasing habits, and all of our social media information, I was not going to be used or exposed.
I had written for many publications online and I got a pen name. I stopped posting up family photos and giving personal information. I closed all of my social media sites and started over. I told some of my 3000 Facebook followers that I was moving on and that it had gotten too weird for me. Magically all of the drama ended shortly after.
I now don’t have to deal with the nonsense. I don’t put my real birthday online, or my address or my name. We have a generation that would put blood samples online if they were asked to; they are open books and trust everyone. They don’t have any money now but when they get older and start making money, taking their identities will be like taking candy from a baby.
When I met with my banker once he spoke under his breath and told me not to use the banking application because in reality it wasn’t safe.
Linked in is the worst. People are obsessed with it; most seem to use it to brag about their accomplishments but I stopped using it. Why in the world would I tell about myself and my business to people that are competitors so they could no what I am doing and what I’m working on. Loose lips sink ships even on the internet.
And to be honest, it takes time to get to know people. I’ve talked to people at times who will tell me their most innermost secrets and I barely know them. That is weird. Either they want attention, or they want help. It blows me away. I was taught never to air your dirty laundry in public and I don’t. It’s also not fair to talk bad about someone online. It takes two to tango and there are two sides to every story.
I think people need to wake up and not be open books. The world isn’t a safe place and people need to me much more careful. It takes one identity theft, one bad thing said online, or one picture to ruin a reputation. Sorry Steve Zuckerberg and Google; I’m not trusting you any more. Learn from my mistakes; I always make them before everyone else.