Postcard #45 – Google Mapping Me Is Going Too Far

by syaffolee

I know nothing about Latvia other than the fact that it’s one of the Baltic countries. I watch a number of travel shows and I don’t recall any travel host ever traveling to Latvia. Is it that uninteresting?

As for the message on this card, I think it exemplifies the difference between me and other people. If people give me an address to send a letter, I don’t bother putting the address in Google Maps. I just send the damn letter. In fact, I’m the organizer of the NaNoWriMo postcard swap and I get a lot of people’s addresses. I have absolutely no desire to look people up on Google Maps. I feel it’s a breach of their privacy. Stalker-ish almost.

Everyone else, on the other hand, are way too interested in other people’s business. I suppose I should be used to the nosiness, but I’m not. I’m just very annoyed. As for the no tree comment, I had the urge to fire off a sarcastic reply about living in a city and expecting greenery was pretty much asking for the impossible.

This isn’t about curiosity or lack thereof. If I lacked curiosity, I wouldn’t have gone into science in the first place. I just feel that there’s a very big distinction between curiosity and other people’s private space. I think it’s perfectly fine to ask someone questions about their culture or philosophy (for example: “What does your family do for the Day of the Dead?”) because it’s rather broad and people can easily give a general answer without revealing something about themselves that they are uncomfortable with. On the other hand, I would think it crosses the line if you asked a specific, personal question, such as, “Who’s your boyfriend?”, because the answer to that question is not just a name (or lack of one). It would reveal so much about what you do in your personal time.

In a nutshell, I think finding me on Google Maps falls into that latter category. Having the words and numbers of an address is one thing. But actually seeing it? I know all of this information is easily accessible, but why on earth would you even want it? It’s not going to make your life incrementally better unless it gets your rocks off to laugh and point at a random stranger. Besides, if you’re sending me a postcard, this is an opportunity to tell me about your culture, not low-grade spy on me.

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