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"Virtual Life in a Virtual World"

I know I bounce all over the place with this newsletter. It's supposed to be about online business. But, over time, I've come to realize how politics and other things happening around the world affect small business owners on the Web.

Things that either don't affect large corporations, and even things that make them money, have the opposite effect on us. In many ways, we are more like salaried workers than business owners. Therefore, we need to stay abreast of what is happening in many areas.

Online, most of the news this past week seems to have been about Facebook. I worry about people using Facebook. The latest is that Facebook is tracking you online, even after you log out.

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There was a time when I didn't concern myself too much about online privacy. But, I always knew it could come to a place where we wouldn't have any. And, sure enough, over the years, it has.

Facebook's new "Timeline" makes a new profile containing your whole life's story.

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Seriously? How smart is that? The possible problems are mind-boggling.

For one thing, how true do you think those life stories will be? I predict most will end up like a personal résumé.

Yet, I suppose folks will jump in and do it without a thought toward what might come back and bite them in the butt. It's a virtual life in a virtual world - none of which is "real."

I'm also concerned about the time people spend on these activities. Is this what people call life, today? Isn't there something more productive people could do with their time than spend it on Twitter and Facebook?

I saw it when I was in Michigan with my family in August. Their whole lives seem to revolve around "social networks" and Smart Phones. And they go berserk if they misplace that damn thing for a single minute.

Whatever happened to real relationships, with people you actually know - and with whom you meet and interact with face-to-face?

I have many terrific friends I've met online and whom I love dearly. And, I've become close with them slowly - like in real life.

But, thousands of "friends" and "followers" I know virtually nothing about except their promo just don't seem real to me. The people seem meaningless. It's the numbers that count.

Some people worry that robots will take over our world. I think we'll BE the robots - in a virtual world. In fact, I see it already happening. Sad.

Let us know what you think in the "Comments."


The Sydney Morning Herald
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