Month: April 2010

How Private Are Our Private Lives?


Lately I have been thinking about privacy. And mostly what does privacy really mean for my generation of socially connected, iPhone owning, tweeting and blogging generation.

I went to a mashup* event mainly concerned with identity a few weeks ago, and the discussion about identity quickly turned into privacy and issues connecting with sharing online and being connected while giving away information online. It was very good discussion, but it got me to thinking about my generation the people who grew up on Facebook, for whom vlogging actually means something, and who are not afraid to post anything and everything online.

The question lingering in my head is – how many people have read completely and fully the terms of agreement to Facebook? And how many of those people have not joined Facebook because they don’t agree to a point in these terms and conditions? I know I haven’t read them. I find it pointless to read a gazillion terms and conditions when I want to use the service, because all my friends who have not read the terms and conditions are on there. Yes Facebook will own everything I post, but guess what… I don’t really care.

I am used to being exposed others and sharing my own personal information – pictures from trips and parties, status updates about new adventures or random rants about life, the universe and everything it is normal. I am used to seeing other people’s status updates who is single, who went where, who got married after all that is the main reason we are all on Facebook to be connected, to inform others about ourselves and to read about them and what is going on with them. Where is the privacy in all that little circle of information?  Hmm…..?!

Now a big fad is Foursquare, a social networking site where you can share not only what you are doing but the exact location of where you are experiencing these quests. I have to be honest and say I have not fully immersed myself in Foursquare but plan on doing so because it is fun. It gives great information about places to go, things to do, and stuff to see, which is provided by other not concerned with their privacy people.

I was reading an article on AdAge by  Freddie Laker titled What Social Media Will Look Like in 2012 and I had a “taaadaaa!” moment when I read the number one prediction:

“Privacy expectations will (have to) change

There will be a cultural shift, whereby people will begin to find it increasingly more acceptable to expose more and more of their personal details on different forms of social media. Sharing your likes, dislikes, opinions, photos, videos and other forms of personal information will be the norm and people will become more accepting of personalized experiences, both corporate and personal, that are reacting to this dearth of personal information.”

This paragraph brought me to a conversation with my dad and his best friend. (They are both very successful 50-something men, whose life is far away from social media as you can imagine) They hated the iPhone because of all the applications, and despised the idea that you have to put in personal details to utilize some of them… and that’s not all folks, furthermore you have to go through the app store (where they know what you have bought before and keep records of all your information) to get more apps. They were obsessed with their privacy, and did not want to share any kind of information with anyone. Is it a different generation with a different mindset? Yes. Can it be changed? No. Should it be changed? Probably.  Perhaps the reason that our generation is so free in the social media universe is because we are not very afraid. We don’t have much to lose and sharing cannot hurt .

We, the YouTube generation, are not very caring about our privacy. We are not reckless with it, but it is not our number one priority. Our number one priority is being connected. We are all out there, fearlessly sharing and posting everything you can think of. It is the way to be. It is the way we are. And it should only be appreciated and utilized in the best way possible.

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