In the past years, there seems to be continued discussions and notable tensions around issues of privacy in the web lives we create for ourselves. We choose what we want to share with others. We aren’t forced to update our facebook status updates on where our delicious Sunday brunch was devoured and washed down with a bloody mary or divulge that, yes, I am in fact procrastinating on starting my mid-term paper and really just watching hours of ‘I Love Lucy’ re-runs. Of course, nowhere is it stipulated that we share these specific details of our daily lives, but…

  • maybe there is a sense of pressure from the ever-growing/ever-tightening influence and presence that social media has on our lives;
  • maybe we gain a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction in sharing;
  • maybe knowing that people care enough to ‘like‘ something you are doing has the potential of increasing our livelihood

Maybe you relate to all of these possible reasons for sharing (and what/how/when you share). Maybe just now you have drafted a dozen or even a katrillion other reasons. What we need to think about next is…the implications of sharing. With how open the internet is, we cannot fully control who sees what we choose to share.

Privacy

a : the quality or state of being apart from company or observation : seclusion
b : freedom from unauthorized intrusion <one’s right to privacy>

                                          source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Issues dealing with privacy are significant and should be taken with profound consideration. Can we instill our own privacy guidelines in congruence with our moral and personal identity? We have to remain accountability for what we share. This includes becoming aware of privacy guidelines that are already instilled on various social media outlets and knowing how to use them.

Privacy Rights Clearing House (PRC) offers a fact sheet on their website that aims to assist people in knowing how to be safe while still being social. Here are 3 topic points that are addressed, which I found to be interesting and most helpful:

  1.  What information is public?
  2. Anonymity on social networks
  3. What laws protect a users information online?

All of this sounds a tad scary, right? Okay, so you’re thinking…I have to go and research policies regarding privacy and bla bla bla before I should post and share with my friends? YES! Because if you don’t, there is a huge chance that people who aren’t your friends could access that information. So, the topic I find myself thinking about from this is…Can and is sharing becoming scary?  Is it already? Are we supposed to feel brave every time we share information online? Do we have to dress ourselves in armor and prepare for some battle?

I don’t know if I would consider myself brave when it comes to what I share. The fact that I have 800 pictures of me tagged on my facebook kind of scares me though. I never paid attention to the mounting tagged photos of me. Now, that I am aware I can tell you I will be spending hours engaging in the ‘untagging’ process. I didn’t have a privacy setting secured of who could, not only post and tag pictures of me, but also tag me in photos that maybe I was not actually IN….but I was there for whatever party, event, or occasion was being held. I do not feel confident or brave enough that I have set my security settings appropriately for all 800 pictures. I am sure somewhere…there is a pictured tagged of me…that I want no one to see. 🙂

Jeff Jarvis –writer, professor, blogger– talks a lot of publicness and sharing. In one of his YouTube videos, How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live, Jarvis says, “Publicness is about organizing. We can organize movements, clubs…” (So, this is a different type of sharing! My type of sharing!) He goes on to discuss that our willingness to open up and share is what makes these things possible. My interpretation/what I got from his video—> I took it as he was saying that our bravery and desire to share things…not just about social events or who is dating so and so this week…but sharing our passions and resources. That we can still have this driving force to share even though it can be scary…That if we learn to open up and share for the right reasons in a responsible manner, real change can happen by connecting through the web.

ULTIMATELY,

However you choose what/when/how you share (from daily updates to political postings to advocating for a cause), just remember to be cognizant of your presence in the web and how privacy is not a guaranteed luxury anymore…don’t be too scared…but it might help to be responsibly brave  🙂


					
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