This is part of my Blog Post Series: How To Thrive As An Adult
It’s so cheap to store all data. It’s cheaper to keep it than to delete it. And that means people will change their behavior because they know anything they say online can be used against them in the future.
— Mikko Hyppönen
I love books. At any given moment, I have a physical book I’m perusing, an audiobook that I’m listening to, and an ebook that I’m reading.
Having three books going at once might seem strange, but this allows me to enjoy books wherever I am. Audiobooks are great while driving, walking, or washing dishes. And ebooks on my phone are convenient when I have a few minutes to kill during the day.
Now, I know many avid readers who rate and review their books on Goodreads. They also use it to manage their reading goals (e.g., 52 books this year), and track what books are on their want to read list.
But I don’t.
1. In 2019 I read 43 books, a few of which I didn’t enjoy. There were 20 more that I didn’t even finish because I lost interest — I’m picky, I know! But I don’t want to announce, to the world, that I dislike a book or an author. I’ll be candid if you ask me in person. But I don’t want to disparage other humans, or their work, in a public forum like the Internet.
2. My interests vary, and some of what I read and explore may be controversial. Books on my someday reading list may be radical. I don’t know who or what is slurping up my reading lists and how they’ll use it. I don’t want to end up on a government watchlist, which I can never appeal or get off. And I don’t want to be denied for an auto loan or home loan, or be approved but with a higher interest rate, because their algorithms classified me as a high risk.
3. I periodically read health-related books. And I don’t want to be charged higher health premiums, be passed over for a job, or be denied for life insurance because I read books about diabetes, cancer, or mental health.
4. Amazon bought Goodreads in 2013. Now, I pay for Amazon Prime, and I’ve been spoiled by their free 2-day shipping. But I’m leery of giving Amazon even more data. Frankly, I don’t trust them with the data they have on me right now. Who is buying my data? How is it being used? I have no idea and so there’s no way I’m giving them more data!
After reading through my list, you may shake your head and say, Stewie! Stop worrying so much!
You may call me paranoid or hyper-sensitive. And I’ll probably agree with you.
You may say the benefits of using Goodreads outweigh the drawbacks. And I’ll understand your point of view.
Or you may call me old-school or a Neo-Luddite. And I’ll acknowledge that I believe that some forms of technology are not conducive to our well-being.
Truth be told, I am old-school. I bring a pen and notepad to every meeting and avoid smart home devices. But that works for me. Find what works for you, but protect yourself, too.
Be mindful of what you put on the Internet because you don’t know who or what is ingesting your personal details, or how they’ll be used. And trying to pull back your data is like trying to unring a bell.
Be well, my friend.