friending, following, tracking and stalking

I have 2 points to make, they are both connected and I haven’t thought either of them through properly yet:

I want to be able to track where my friends are on the Internet at all times. If they are in Gmail, on a blog, on twitter, on facebook, if they are away from their computer (or hidden) or if they are on skype or one of the many chat clients. The reason? I want to be able to get a message to them, in the space where they are currently. I want to be able to be part of their conversation, wherever they might be on the Internet. This will allow me to communicate when the thought strikes me, and reflect the type of communication we would have if we were in the same room. Thoughts often jump around in our conversations, so why can’t a shared link through gReader, be commented on in Twitter? As I know that’s where the person is right now.

The second thought I had, was about Stalking – Oooo there’s the connection!

I’m thinking about on the whole, and more in this transparent communication world, people are good souls. We all are pleasant people and help each other out. If someone was to start being a nuisance online, would be collectively get involved to squash that negative activity? Crowdsourcing to prevent something bad happening to a stranger. I don’t know if there has been any reported cases of communities coming together and flushing out bad people. I would like to believe that friends online, regardless to whether I’ve meet them irl, would help me out if I needed it.

I guess this thought is about the transparency of someones personal and private problems into a public space. Imagine a real stalker, sitting outside your home, bombarding you with phonecalls, leaving stupid messages on your facebook profile, and following you about the places you live.

Would you phone the police? probably. But if you didn’t, how could a network of good people online, assist in crowdsourcing the freaks ass out of your life?

Crowds can do wonderful things, but the majority of it online, is either to raise money for a cause, or to distribute information for a largely selfless cause. Could crowds do more?

If instant communication online and through mobiles can inform 10’s, 100’s, and 1000’s of people, could the collective knowledge – say in one town or city – effectively render all attempts of a Stalker to operate their ‘normal’ lives and activities as useless?

eg: They go to buy a pint of milk in the morning and can’t get served because the staff know what he’s doing to someone. He goes to every shop in the town and finds that no-one will sell him milk, or bread, or any food. Could it go so far to push people out of an entire City? County or Country?

more and more it seems the only private things we possess are those that we don’t put online, but only can occurs if no-one else online knows about it either. I’m also fueled in thought about how the old faceless version of the Internet we used to use, made it easy for people to hide or be someone else online – not anymore.

So there it is, 2 thoughts, one for me wanting to be able to track people around the net – with their consent, and one for dealing with those that do so with malicious intent and how we can all work together to deal with it.

I’m done – back to work

(don’t re-read, don’t edit, just hit ‘publish’)



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