I have started using Google Buzz. Or I should say Google started making me use it, because when I woke up one day the Buzz icon was there, complete with the list of my followers and people whom I follow. If someone "steals" our connection and declares that I am a fan of who-knows, we would be blocking that person/service for good. But it's the act of God, so no one complains.
What if the "Following" list included someone unwelcomed (fortunately not my case), let's say, our parents and our boss? If we list these scenarios in order of chillingness, it should look something like this:
- Our boss following us
- Our parents following us
- Our ex- following us
- Our secret crush following us (and promptly dumps/unfollows us after finding out the auto-following function)
As of this moment (Feb 12th) the whole world is buzzing the Buzz. But no one I have read has buzzed about the stalkish nightmare that should follow. I suppose it is a matter of time.
One issue with Google Buzz is that it nearly flattens the hierarchical relationship we had with each email acquaintance. The email used to be our mailbox at our gate: everything comes in, from coveted love letters to letters about making love, and we filter them subsequently. The entry is wide open because we know they cannot come in further.
With the integration of Buzz, it looks like now everybody can enter into our living room. People get our email address (the location), follow us (get inside our house), listen to our conversation (dwell in our living room). We still have our bedroom locked, but is the wall thick enough to shut all the sound?
Facebook has the same feature but that's a service originally intended for our dearest friends, so there is little problem. (Almost) everybody in Facebook is someone whom we trust, so we can talk about our private life. It's the 3PM tea-time chatter.
Twitter does that too but that's a broadcasting station so we know everything we say should be generic, mass-media. It's the 3PM radio station. If you want to talk about your privacy, it's your choice.
Email list is problematic. It includes everybody from the dearest to the hated. And we don't have a good way to talk with our friends, family, coworkers, students, etc. in a single voice. If we take the safe route, there will be no juicy element inside our conversation and that's not a conversation any more.
The fact is, with Goolge Buzz the Pandora's box has opened. If the email starts going the public road, what else is left for privacy? Whether we like it or not, we have to figure out a way to deliver our message in the everything -is-in-the-eye-of-the-public world.