No Facie in my house, thanks.
No Facie in my house, thanks. Matt Rourke

Why I've banned my visitors from using their smartphones

I'VE NEVER been one to say "I told you so", but, well, I told you so.

The recent revelations about how very unsafe your personal details are if you use Facebook come as no surprise to me. and, if they do to you, you have been - at the very least - naïve.

Nothing is free any more (except maybe the books in the street library out in my garden). The sharebikes causing such angst in Sydney and Melbourne are multiplying because the companies that own them don't care about the cost of supplying them. The big money is in the data they collect from customers.

If you thought your private list of friends, the ads you click on, or the content you favour isn't being recorded and used for too many purposes, guess what? You were wrong. All those nude selfies you posted to your "private" Instagram account? Whoopsie.

Data is the new black; data allows all manner of companies to pinpoint your interests and where you spend your hard-earned dollars, and even the political party you favour. In turn they can then fine-tune advertising content and even your news feed to deliver what you want to see. All well and good, until that fine tuning goes horribly wrong and ensures that, oh, say, Donald Trump is elected president of the free world.

As I have mentioned previously, I have avoided TwitFace since their inception. I did for a time have a FB account under a pseudonym which I used to contact companies (notably Telstra), as I discovered big corporations give far better service via their social media accounts because so many people can see the whinging comments from dissatisfied customers. I had no "friends" and followed a few local businesses so I could keep up to date with opening hours and the odd attraction at the bowlo.

But those few advantages weren't enough to outweigh the distaste I feel for the way social media has taken over so many lives - and I would never trust an organisation that censored photos of nude artwork but allowed hate speech to flourish.

A recent visit from some old friends left me tearing out my hair; their phones dinged and beeped every two minutes with notifications from their various accounts, prompting them to stop whatever it was they were doing (eating, drinking, conversing) to attend to something that was, apparently, much more exciting. It was so bad I had to flee my own house for the studio out the back to get a bit of peace, and I've now decided to enforce a ban on smartphones anywhere other than in bedrooms when friends come to stay.

If they choose not to visit as a result, it proves that Houston, we have a problem.



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