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Five Years Facebook-Free
  February 1, 2017

 
Over five years have gone by since I left the world of social networking. It was around November of 2011 when I kicked Facebook to the curb for it's deceitful privacy policy, underhanded tactics, and unreliability. I had been thinking about quitting Facebook for quite some time, but what sealed the deal is when Facebook hijacked my account and demanded that if I wanted to regain access to it, I'd have to give them my mobile phone number. (Yes, that actually happened.) Well, there was no way in hell Facebook was going to extort private information from me, but now both my personal page and business page were sitting in limbo because I couldn't access my account to delete them. I contacted the Better Business Bureau who intervened and helped me get my Facebook account successfully shut down.

Most people would not have given a second thought to giving up their mobile phone number to keep their Facebook account, but I'm not most people.
I keep a very close eye on my personal information, which is why I'm a fine print reader. I read the fine print for every online service I join and on every document I sign. I look for red flags, the most common being ambiguous terminology. Several times over the years, I've had to amend documents before signing them, whether they were release forms, indemnity agreements, or contracts. When it comes to social networking sites, however, there are only two choices:

Sign up, or don't sign up.


Once social networking services learned they could generate vast amounts of revenue by collecting and selling their members' socialgraphic information, social networking was (somewhat transparently) transformed into a huge data mining industry. Social networking users became a product to be sold. To maximize the value of their product, social networking sites did everything they could to make you want to post, click, like, pin, comment, and share more than ever. Being the fine print reader I am, I read through the continually changing privacy policies of sites like Facebook and Google, and I didn't like what I saw. They were getting away with making it seem like users had more privacy than they really did.
After the Facebook fiasco, I deleted my Google account. Shortly after, I let go of my LinkedIn account and stopped Tweeting over similar privacy concerns.

I value my privacy very highly. My business address is public because it has to be, but there are maybe thirty people in the entire world who know where I actually live. My mobile phone number, the same one I've had since the 1990's, has never been made public. And the GPS on my phone is permanently disabled.

If maintaining privacy were my only concern, I could rejoin the social networking scene under an alias, but the truth is that I don't want to be that connected to everyone I know. I don't have the time nor desire to be privy to the everyday details of people's lives, likewise, I'm quite confident not many people want to need to know the details of mine.

There are some drawbacks to be detached from social networking, though.
  • Some people, especially younger people in the music industry, use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as their only forms of contact. They grew up with social networking, so they don't give any thought to publicizing a phone number or email address.
  • I've missed a few funerals, fundraisers, and other important events over the past few years because the news never made it beyond the domain of Facebook.
  • A Facebook account and the ability to "Like" are occasionally required these days to enter sweepstakes or to receive service discounts.
  • Since nearly 80% of all Americans are on Facebook, some people see the non-Facebook user as being odd or eccentric, or worse yet, maybe he or she is a sex offender or some other sort of criminal.
Despite the drawbacks, being disconnected from social networking suits my lifestyle. I'm busy with my business year round, and when spring and summer get here, I'll be back on the bike trails and tennis courts. The little bit of sharing I do is privately with friends, usually through texting or email, and whatever I publicly share, I can share from my website. The tweeting, posting, pinning and liking will have to wait for another day. Maybe when I'm retired.



The History of the Kerler House

December 25, 2016


As a Christmas present to my mom this year, I spent about 80 hours researching the history of her 112-year-old house and putting it all together in the form of a website.

Link: www.tombrusky.com/kerlerhouse



Music Finally Available on Amazon

December 9, 2016


It took 118 days for my music to become available on Amazon.com. According the CD Baby, Amazon was mistakenly flagging my material as "non compliant content". It's a shame that it took nearly four months to correct this error.

LINK: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAGQLKZ/

I extend my apology for the delay to those of you who subscribe to Amazon. And I want to caution musicians that digital distribution, even though you pay for it, is truly a crapshoot. There's no better way to describe it. CD Baby got my music distributed to some services, such as Apple iTunes and Spotify, right away. But an error caused placement on Amazon to take nearly four months, and placement on Pandora is apparently still a work in progress. (CD Baby re-delivered my music to Pandora in November, so hopefully it will become available soon.)

Since all of my music is available for immediate download right here on my website, and, in light of the surge of interest in "O Holy Night" after it was aired on Milwaukee radio the other weekend, I am offering a special holiday sale on my website. From now through December 25th, enjoy discounts on the downloads of "O Holy Night" and the entire "Holidays In Music" album!



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