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OpEd: When Did Simple Individual Decision Making Get So Hard?

Good question in the headline right? So let’s dive right in.  This was almost a piece sent to our friends at Un-Cut but since Thedroidguy is going to be credited with it anyway I will throw out the need to curse etc, and get on with a hot button point.

When did simple individual decision making get so  hard?

Take Thedroidguy for instance, we retweet our stories anywhere from 6-32 times in 72 hours based on an algorithm we have for the weight of the story. Our policies on this can be found here and here.  You as a follower, no wait you as a reader, no wait, you as a human being can make the decision of whether you want to click on the link, read the story, follow or unfollow thedroidguy. It’s not for us to hold your hand and tell you whether to click it or not. You also have this unique individualistic right to ignore it if you’d like. And again we don’t need to tell you that it’s part of being human.

But alas this OpEd isn’t about the way we tweet. It’s about a couple things that have been coming up as of late. The first is Privacy.  I sat in a panel at CTIA in Orlando in March where Privacy quickly became a hot button topic.  A nice woman, probably in her late 30’s or early 40’s said she had 5 children either in their pre-teen or teenage years. She asked what seemed like a good question “who is going to be responsible for their information” well, you of course lady and your children.  If you’re that concerned about what your kids can get into on Facebook, don’t allow them on Facebook.  Can you not tell your children “no” if “no” is that hard for you than perhaps you need to take a parenting course.

That segues to a great topic, I was traveling last week on a plane and some young couple let their 8 or 9 year old sing, almost at the top of their lungs, the entire flight.  The parents gave a couple awkward “Jane don’t do that””Jane you’re disturbing the others”.  Um hello, my parents would have smacked the crap out of me and made me shut up.  Again what happened to telling a kid “no”.

I am co-parenting a 3 year old who is very well behaved but when she needs to be told no we tell her no, plain and simple. It’s a decision we have to make because she can’t make it and sometimes the decision is no.

So segue now to adult hood.  We realize that we have many many many followers who would qualify, by at least in age, as adults. Why is it so hard for an adult to make a decision.  Realize these very easy concepts:

– A GPS social networking app like WAZE is going to take your geo-location information. Do you like the benefits of Waze? Crowdsourcing traffic congestion and traffic delays could save you 20 minutes to an hour in the car, is that a fair enough trade for your geo-location information? If it is than GREAT enjoy the benefits of Waze. If it’s not, here’s an easy idea, DON’T USE IT.  The technology simply can’t work if you don’t give your geo-location information and if you don’t want to give your geo-location information don’t use it.

– Google latitude- The Same thing. But see here’s a great thing about Google Latitude, it has privacy settings. You can select the amount of private, geolocation information you want to give out. You want your 10 besties to know where you are, perfect they can, you want everyone to know where you are, excellent they can. If you want no one to know where you are, but to be able to see where your friends are, guess what you can. These are real simple decisions you as a person and a human being can make.  Will Latitude take your private Geolocation information of course they will. They don’t really care where you are, they are using the data for what they want, which is their right since you’re agreeing to their terms of service by using the software.

– Tracking- Come on you haven’t seen an episode of Law & Order SVU? Do you think that triangulation of cell phone towers is something Dick Wolf made up just to spiff his show? Of course not.  Do you want EMS to know where to find you if you flip your car over on the highway, of course you do. If you’re that worried about a cell phone, this may come as a shocker, but there are still millions and millions of Americans that don’t have a cell phone.  Their are also millions and millions of Americans who use something like a Trac Phone for those one time emergencies or necessities. Again, that’s a decision you make as a human.

– Dog Wars- Now here’s where I’m really going to upset some people.  I love dogs. Many of our followers know that when my 12 year old Boxer Moehammed passed away earlier this year I was very upset he was, well, my dawg, very loyal and always happy. As a boxer he was often feared but really if you just rubbed him he’d turn right over, not much for a guard dog. Did i fight him? no? would I fight him? no. Do I condone dog fighting, absolutely not. Should dog fighting establishments be shut down, yes! Was Michael Vick wrong? Yes.

But here’s the deal people Dog Wars is a game. Is it a classy game, nope not really but neither is dope wars which I played forever on my palm pilot back in the day.  Now I used to play Dope Wars all the time I could make a cool mil selling opium, coke, straight up heroin, and pot in just a number of days on Dope Wars, but was I a drug dealer in real life? Absolutely not! Do I condone drug dealers, nope, that’s a big problem in many cities. Are drugs bad, yes. But it was a fun little game that was easy to beat and taught the principles of supply and demand. I made the decision as a teenager and person in my early 20’s when the original came out to play it and I did, that was my decision to make.

I play Cityville but am I really the Mayor of anything or a real estate mogul? Nope.  I used to play GTA with many of you but were any of us really car thieves (don’t answer that LOL) but the general answer is no.

So why is it so hard to grasp that Dog Wars is a game? Is it promoting something “bad” yes but it’s the individual who owns the phone, it’s the individual that has the gmail account hooked to an Android Market account who has that power as a human being to say “No” this isn’t for me I don’t want to download it, I don’t want to play it. It’s not like Dog Wars or any other game for that matter is bloatware that has to be used.

Some would chalk all these thoughts up to common sense. Some would chalk them up as to easy decision making. You?

3 Comments

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  1. Loved the tone of the OpEd, and agree with the concept. Nevertheless, I missed a ton of commas!!! 😉
    Still cool.

  2. Great OpEd my friend. Where did personal responsibility go? When I was in school, my parents delegated their authority to the teachers and we respected that. Today, parents sue teachers if they believe that their child has been “overly” disciplined. Reminds me of a great story which recently happened. Students were caught creating graffiti in the washrooms. The principal punished them by forcing them to clean their mess. Parents found this “abusive” and threatened to sue. OK… so plastering the walls with graffiti is OK? (sigh). BTW, I applaud what the principal did.
    We trip at a friends house and break our arm (accidents do happen). We remain friends but insurance companies and lawyers push people to sue the other. There goes friendship. My wife practices martial arts and she accidentally cut herself during an exercise (she is a double black-belt). It required a few stitches but what happened afterwards was crazy. Our insurance company hounded her to press charges against the school for negligence. She stood fast and refused to do so. She kept on saying that it was solely her responsibility. It took several weeks and many responses to finally get the insurance company to back down. Again, accidents happen. The same logic applies to games, cell phones, what we let our children watch on TV, etc. It’s our responsibility and our decision. If we don’t like it then don’t use it. Why try to legislate PC into our lives? Ah… I can rant on for hours and hours… you did a great job and it makes me feel good that I am not alone to believe in this 😉

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