Also posted as a story:
Hello my fellow privacy-conscious slashdotters!
This last decade or so, I have strived to maintain my privacy. I have uninstalled Windows, told my friends "sorry" when they wanted me to be on Facebook, had a fight with my brother when he wanted to move the family email hosting to GMail, and generally held back on my personal information online. But since, amongst all of my friends, I am the ONLY one doing this, it may well be that there is no point in all of this and my battle is lost already.
Worse, if in spite of this I'm still not "on" any of these services, I'm really putting myself out of the loop (and poking myself in the eye everytime I use Squirrelmail instead of GMail). It is starting to look like self-flagellation, and I can't particularly enjoy it if I don't see at least some advantage to it. Indeed, it is a common enough occurrence that my wife or friends strike up conversations based on something from their Facebook "wall" (whatever that is) that it has become clear to me just how out of the loop I really am. Becoming ever more unconnected with my friends (be it in a human or online way) is ultimately harming my social relations (and frankly they're not that good to begin with).
It doesn't matter whether or not I'm on Facebook if my friends are posting pictures of me anyway; it's actually worse than that since I can't know if that's actually the case unless I sign up for the thing. It doesn't really matter if it was me or my friends selling me out. Or does it?
What's my point? I am seriously considering throwing in the towel (hoping I won't be doing any impromptu space travelling) and signing up for GMail, Facebook, the lot (and then using Tor a lot more than I already am). My point is, if "they" have my soul already, I might as well reap the benefits of actually USING the services of this newfangled, privacy-less, ajax-2.0 world.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this matter. To which extent is personal privacy really an illusion? I know some of you eschewing much more of the "generally accepted society" than just the online facet, but I'm wondering, how many Windows-eschewing users are NOT also eschewing the social networking services and all the other 2.0 supersites with their dubious end-user license agreements?