...on not casting pearls before swine

If you live long enough you experience the joy of learning things over and over again.

This is certainly true for me regarding the internet and specifically the social web. In the nineties when the internet came into the mainstream and more social with the advent of the worldwide web, I learned some lessons which laid the foundation for how I intended to deal with a technology that quickly became an information backbone of our time.

Since then, the internet has become more ubiquitous. A wealth of information and a cyber junkyard, a web of commerce and a social networking venue but above all else an overflowing warehouse of too much data. The rules controlling my online social engagement are pretty much the same as they are offline. I have come to relearn that not only is it intrinsic to my nature to be selective but also a requirement in order to keep my sense of self relatively intact as well as balance and order in my life. Rules for my life online need to come from my experience in life offline.

I was the kid who lived in a remote place and back in the day would have loved to have online interaction to explore the world and for a while escape what seemed like a mundane local world.

Oh, if I only knew then what I know now...

For some reason it seems necessary to reconsider the ground rules for operating on the internet. I'm not sure why...but I trust my instincts. It's not clear if this is due to the economic crisis, a change of decade, feeling overwhelmed, I'm wiser or something else and right now the reason seems irrelevant. The bottom line fundamental rule is I have control over how much and what information I see, and who I interact with online and any benefit or repercussions are due to my choices. In any case I use and interact on the web on my terms and what I use any website for is generally my business and not subject to the opinion of people who do not influence me.

This doesn't mean that I'm stopping or slowing my current online activity or judging what anyone else does. Perhaps our privacy is not as intact as we'd like to think and we should recognize accessing the "information superhighway" means sharing the road with unlicensed drivers. That also means making intelligent choices about how much road we can handle and proceed with caution.