Monday, March 21, 2011

Going Amish

Andy, nice article. Thanks for the mention. There is no doubt that Going Amish is happening, even if it is just for short periods of time (in which people just need to get away from being so plugged in). Others who were raised in a time when *privacy* was a term with real meaning may opt for a longer-ter­m commitment­. In the old days, we'd have called them "hermits," but today they are just pseudo-Ami­sh - still liking community but wanting to be able to walk down main street without 300 security cameras publishing their whereabout­s to the cloud.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Charlie Sheen should Go Amish

Is it possible for one to be a meglomaniac and Go Amish? Probably not. After all, who would be more comfortable with the idea of living under a spotlight than a person who drinks tiger blood and whose cognitive dissonance capabilities translate even the most tragic outcomes as examples of #winning?

Even so, when the spotlight cools (or begins to blister the skin - something that for Mr. Sheen will likely happen right after he sleeps for about 12 hours, has a cup of coffee, and maybe finds someone who will show him a mirror - perhaps the '10s version of a Betty Ford retreat will be an escape from reality through a combination of Facebook/Twitter abdication, a disconnection of all networked devices, and perhaps a long-term cabin rental somewhere in Ted Turner's private estate (a/k/a "Montana.")

We used to see TV and news specials with the theme of "whatever happened to _____?" Perhaps the problem today is that we know exactly what has happened to him or her, what they are doing right this second, and how we should feel about it. With no room for speculation or mystery, could the global appetite for second-chance celebrity dissipate? Perhaps the publicist community will find that getting their clients off the grid is the best possible way for them to ensure that their asset has a chance for long-term value sustenance.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

How to Go Amish

Facebook has instructions about deleting your facebook account. Note - the real answer is YOU CAN'T, at least not through them. You can deactivate, but your stuff is still there, waiting in the wings, and you agreed to do it. Some believe (and it may be true) that after 2 weeks of going completely dark on Facebook (including not visiting the site AT ALL) your record will be deleted from their systems, but why would this have to be true.

OK, I am starting to sound like a conspiracy wonk. Not the plan. Plus I use Facebook all the time, so I have no intention at this point of doing this. Irony abounds.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Google Opt Out Feature Lets Users Protect Privacy By Moving To Remote Vi...

Tutorial for Going Amish - on

This article on Squidoo - "How to Remove Your Personal Information from Google and Internet" (sic) is pretty good, even if it leaves all the work to you.

We'll provide links to companies that offer to do this for you as well, plus monitoring services.

Speaking of which, Rapleaf offers a simple tool to see what info is available in the public domain simply based upon your email address. You have to set up an "account" to do this, and if you are in the habit of using email aliases when you register for services, this won't work so well for you.

I use email aliases every time I shop. Gmail's approach is pretty simple - just add "+aliasname" between your gmail name and the part of your address. For example "" Gmail ignores the +aliasname part of the address but you can use this for filtering spam or figuring out who has sold your email address to spammers. A more elaborate way is to own your own domain name and set up aliases that way., a free nameserver service provider, includes a very simple MailForward feature to enable this.

What is "Going Amish?"

First, I must apologize to the Amish who may be reading this blog. Of course, if you are Amish and reading this blog, you are probably not very good at being Amish or are maybe on your rumspringa (post-adolescent break from Amish life) so you don't count.

The purpose of this site has nothing to do with religion. This is about privacy and the challenge of keeping your life out of the public domain. For most of you reading this note, you are being analyzed, categorized, targeted, and stalked on a regular basis and you don't even know it.

I'm talking about social media and it's potential impact on your life. Hey, I use the stuff, all the time. Name the social network and I probably have an account on it. I have tons of pictures loaded on my Facebook account, I use Picasaweb for photo sharing and storage, and for crying out loud, I am a blogger! Even so, I also realize that everything I do today is being captured and stored and may one day come back to haunt me.

What is the harm?

Not a bad question. Marketers like me will tell you that giving them better info about you will improve the relevance of their offers and advertisements, ultimately enabling ads to actually ENHANCE your life, not interrupt it. We're not kidding. Publishers will tell you that they will be able to serve up content, entertainment, and information to you that you really are interested in, improving your enjoyment of life and overall efficiency. They aren't kidding either. So what is the big deal?

What people don't think about is other folks who want to use this information. The next time you apply for life insurance, do you want your insurer to be able to see that you like bungee jumping, riding motorcycles, and ju jitsu? Does it help your premiums for them to know that you are a member of the "J'aime fromage" (I love cheese) Group in Facebook? How about seeing all of those pictures of you drinking beer?

And sure, banks are not allowed to deny you credit based on these kinds of things, but they ARE allowed to not offer you credit, or only offer you more expensive credit terms based on pre-screening of a marketing prospect list.

What about the government? With the Patriot Act still in effect, many of your civil liberties and rights to privacy may be suspended. Combining public information about you with private info (e.g., phone records, credit card usage history) gives a very clear picture of who you are and what you like to do - is this something that you will always be comfortable with? Even if the government changes to someone who does not meet your political needs?

Bottom line - you may not like this so much after all. But what can you do about it?

I often tell people that the only folks who can truly claim privacy are the Amish, whose pre-industrial, rural lifestyle insulates them from the information age. Cultural biases against having their picture taken keeps much of the incedental exposure to a minimum.

To my knowledge, it is not a easy thing to become Amish, and for most of us, this really does not sound appealing, especially when you consider that the latest season of The Amazing Race just started and you'd have to miss ALL of it. But we can do something like it, at least on the Internet.

Several services have arisen which help you delete your "fingerprints" or presence on the Internet, starting with popular social media sites. The Web 2.0 Suicide Machine is an example of this which has recently garnered a lot of press. We'll find sites and resources like this and post them here so that you can "Go Amish" and get your stuff off of the grid.

There, that's it. Any questions?