Letters, Sept. 22, 2008

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Getting beyond social network data

RE: "Your Data With Destiny" (AA, Sept 15). The consumer doesn't know his own behavior, and, in fact, we filter our own perception of our behavior! Facebook is a great example of this behavior of "self-behavior filtering." I do not post photos of myself at my computer (where I spend a lot of my day's behavior). I post photos of me at parties, at the beach, with friends. Why? Who am I filtering my social-networking behavior for? For myself! Facebook allows me to choose my own perception of myself (SecondLife takes it a step further even by allowing users to design 3-D representations of themselves).

I do this for my own self-esteem. I say I do this because I want my friends who visit my page to see the fun person I want them to see, but the truth could be that I only want to see the fun person (me) I want me to see.

Perhaps this smart algorithmic application Garfield is talking about for Facebook will expose the fraud that I really am. I post photos of me wearing high-end-brand clothes at a beach drinking premium tequila (Patron with lime, please). But then that smart Facebook algorithm comes along, recognizes the brands in these photos and shows me "brands I might like." In reality, I only own one pair of designer jeans, I was just visiting friends at the beach and that shot of Patron left me broke. I'm not who that application was intended to target. But there was still no waste because no one paid for the ad, and I am in control, because I still get to filter what photos I take, what photos I post. If the application is of no use to me, I have only myself to blame.
Ben Upchurch
Meridian, Idaho

I really appreciate the point you made about privacy becoming a premium. At some point in the near future, both legislative hearings and the news outlets will start to blow this story up, and it will finally become a concern to some Americans. That means that a company that can position itself as a protector of privacy (the antidote to Google) will become a premium-service subscriber. Perhaps this is where Apple is headed?
Forrest Wright
San Diego

Republicans hopping mad at Garfield

RE: "Attack Ads Prove GOP Needs 'Education' in Straight Talk" (AA, Sept. 15). You should update this, Bob, by stating that you are a Democrat, or far-left liberal, so we understand where your bias comes from. Just because you added an "oh, by the way" disclaimer about Obama's camp doesn't get you off the hook.

Whereas you explicitly accused the McCain camp of lies, you are marshmallow soft on Obama's camp, saying it "plays fast and loose with the truth," which is only a euphemism for lying.

Moreover, you only lay this on the Obama camp, so you spare the man, whereas you explicitly attack McCain (the man himself) for the many faults you see in him.

So you hit the left with kid gloves while pouring acid on the right. Your argument is too jaded to be taken seriously.
Nicholas Psaltos
Guttenberg, N.J.

Enough with the helicopter parents

RE: "Want Some Parenting Tips? Start Watching 'Mad Men'" (AA, Sept 15). Your points on kids are well taken. Though I don't have any (yet), I find it amazing how they are coddled. I do not want my child growing up like that. What happens when they really have to go out in the big, bad world out there? I also don't get "helicopter parents" who feel compelled to show up at each and every little soccer practice. It's like their total existence revolves around little Jimmy. I recall not wanting my parents there for things like that. Just stop by for the big games.

Keep up the good work!
Steve Dolata
Insight Media
Edgewood, Ky.

Richer dead-on about creativity

As a professional screenwriter and journalist who is also a depth psychologist, I was pleasantly surprised and encouraged to read Mark-Hans Richer's article, "Why Creativity Has to Be a CMO's Core Competency" (AA, Sept. 8).

To read a corporate executive using terms such as "intuitive," "nurture" and "soul" seems an anomaly. Ironically, studios and networks have become some of the most uncreative corporations around. Consequently, many writers with strong creative vision expressed via sound original material get overlooked in favor of presumed cash-cow creators/writers. This practice has always proved that a "guaranteed hit, bottom line" mentality does not necessarily work.

I hope all the CEOs, CFOs and CMOs of these entertainment conglomerates read Mr. Richer's article, take copious notes and then take copious action accordingly.
Sharon D. Johnson
Los Angeles
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