Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • Remember that old Monty Python Flying Circus sketch "How Not To Be Seen"?

    It's a spoof of those earnest government education films that I can still remember from my own schooldays, well-meaning and worthy attempts to explain things like childhood vaccinations.

    In the Python sketch, hapless individuals endeavour not to be 'seen' as they hide in variety of outdoor - and eventually indoor - locations, but, invariably, they are pointed out by the cheerfully official voice of John Cleese and are promptly blown up with explosives.

    I was thinking of this today in relation to the internet. Once you wave a hand on this medium, you are going to be seen, even if it is only by a few people. More significantly, a lot of algorithms will work to place you in an advertising niche so as to flood you with those tailored ads that seem to follow you, as doggedly as Cleese's gleeful narrator, from website to website.

    In my case, it's camera lenses from Canon. Wherever I go.

    So how do you hide? I know there are programs designed to block cookies, disable scripts and block ads. They all work to some extent. But they require finding and installation and a little knowledge to use them effectively. Plus they tend to get outdated pretty quickly.

    No, the only real way is take yourself off the internet. You'll leave a pretty large footprint behind you if you've been using social media, but at least your present location will be unknown. Sometimes this thought appeals to me. I do know that disappearing into an internet-less void for a little while is quite invigorating. Opens the eyes again, really it does. So I do that from time to time. But, mostly, I like being here. So I come back. I'll live with the Canon ads, because I like being seen. By a few people, yes, but great people. And here on Cowbird, the ads can't chase me. May it always be that way.

    Thank you all.
    • Share

    Connected stories:

About

Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.