Monday, June 22, 2009

The Internet is creepy if you are Big Sports Celebrity. Or anyone.

Six kids. Seven parents. Dora The Explorer: Live. But this isn't a story about live theater and happy times. It's a story about celebrity and the Internet.

Sitting behind me is Big Sports Celebrity with a child on his lap. But is it really him? It's been several years since Big Sports Celebrity got traded to Opposing Sports Franchise. No time to figure it out. The lights go down. Kids start yelling. Big Sports Celebrity gets forgotten.

At intermission, I use my Blackberry to look up Big Sports Celebrity on Wikipedia. It takes me less than 30 seconds to learn that he has a child. Surprisingly, the entry also includes the child's name and birthday. I tell one of the other dads and he nods. He has already done a Google image search on his iPhone to find a current photo. Yep, it's Big Sports Celebrity alright.

I've written that using a smartphone encourages you to treat information not as something you find, but as something that flows around you. I never thought twice about searching Big Sports Celebrity. But then I looked around me at all the happy kids and realized that if you're famous, the Internet does more than overshare your personal information with the world. It shares the names and ages of your children. And that's creepy.

The most ironic part? We didn't approach Big Sports Celebrity for an autograph because we wanted to respect his privacy. Sheesh.

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