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Every week there seems to be a new social network or communication tool touted in the news and popular blogs. Most of them I explore for a day, then pass them by but I have been intrigued by Twitter and Tumblr.

I am still figuring out what purpose Twitter really serves but Tumblr is a great idea for a person like me, who randomly comes across links, videos, pictures, etc. all day long and wants to post them but not write a lot about them.

I setup a Tumblr account at flightpath.tumblr.com.

Standing in line at a well-known store, I witnessed something that made my jaw slightly drop and my ears perk up. The clerks who were finishing the transactions asked two questions, phone number and e-mail address. To my surprise multiple people answered both questions readily without asking why such information was needed. There was no need for the e-mail addresses or the phone numbers, simply marketing and advertising opportunities, yet these customers were willing to just hand out their information like flyers on a New York City street corner.

The lack of care as to why this information was being asked for is disturbing as it shows a growing lack of care for privacy and a misunderstanding of personal information. My e-mail address is a conduit for people who I know to reach me as well as services that I knowingly ask for, simply giving my address out to everyone is not in my best interest, no matter how much I love the store (without knowing their policies on e-mail). The one instance of when I give my e-mail address to a store is to receive a copy of my receipt so that I do not have a paper version floating around.

Giving out an e-mail address is one thing since a person can filter it and limit their amount of spam, however, lackadaisically telling someone your phone number is a completely different subject. Your cell phone and home phone are direct lines to you, there is no filtering besides caller ID. If you are using your cell phone as a central contact number then caller ID does not do much because you may receive calls from numbers you do not know. This is why caution when giving out personal information is so important, especially when you are not given full disclosure on how that information will be used.

To bring this little blurb full circle, the most interesting part of witnessing this exchange was the ages of the people involved. The three young ladies who gave their information out with no question were no older than 20 and none of them had any problem spelling out their e-mail address. No thought was given to spam or to marketing, just the impulsive, immediate spelling of the address. I’m not sure we will ever go back to people being protective of what is personal and private, I do not know if the concept of either is even understood anymore.

CNN Headline News is a good source for up to the minute news but CNN the network is an awful web reporting group.

Yesterday an article was posted on CNN Money titled, Why gas in the U.S. is so cheap, that outlines why gas prices here in the states are cheap and how people overseas are paying so much more. Next to the article is a chart showing countries and each country’s respective price per a gallon of gasoline:

bad-CNN-reporting

Notice the price of a gallon of gasoline in Aruba, $12.03, this number is not even close to the current price being paid there. $4.92. Yep, CNN was a whole $7.11 off.

How hard is it to do a little research. In fifteen minutes I found numerous places that post up-to-date prices. The most obvious of which was ArubaLife. The site goes into detail about how prices in Aruba are set and the fact that there is a Valero refinery on the island. They also have a notice at the top letting people know that the CNN article is false.

Come on CNN, just a little reporter research would be nice.