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Posted by on Mar 13, 2010 in Social Media | 6 comments

Privacy – A Modern Invention?

Photo by Alan Cleaver

A lot of people (especially people older than me) seem to talk a lot about privacy when they talk about social media. They ask who can see what, and question why it is necessary to be on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I am never going to defend social media and say that everyone should be involved, I will however argue that the idea of privacy is a modern creation. There was a time where everyone lived in small villages where everyone knew each other and there was no privacy. Only when people moved in to cities was the illusion of anonymity created.

And now that we no longer live in small villages, and we have family all over the World social media makes it easier to keep in touch with the people we love (and I NEVER tire of saying “stalking is caring”). We never have to wonder what happened to old friends because we can just look them up on Facebook (and we can stalk our exes on Twitter… but who does that right?)

The lack of privacy extends to professional relationships as well. The people that we interview with, network with, speak to at conferences, etc., they are all tied to you, and that isn’t a bad thing! That is a great thing! You never know when those relationships might be beneficial for you and them, and you never have to lose contact with someone because you lost their card.

THAT is why you should stop asking who can see what, and instead, embrace the virtual town of thousands that you are creating online.

*As a disclaimer – I realize that yes, you should be smart about what you post online – don’t be dumb.

6 Comments

  1. Privacy is not important as long as you never do anything you wouldn’t want your current or future employer to see, or your ex. People have lost jobs or not called back for a second interview because of pictures they or others have posted. For most of us, most of the time, privacy is not needed. But occasionally, each of us needs to be able to control what others can find out about us.

  2. Good post. You’ve got good insights here and I think a great follow-up post would be “what not to post and where”. Small tips, “like don’t put your birthdate on Facebook” (or so I have been told, because it makes you a better target for identity theft). Also, I am amazed at the bright professional people I know using Four Square; which of course was linked to pleaserobme.com (although I believed the creators of this site are re-evaluating its purpose).

    I agree with you that in simpler times when community meant your physical community; everyone did know your business. However, as we move our communities online, we need to be careful of the wrong people who would want to use our visibilty and trust against us.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions Tom! I love the idea, I think that is going to be my next post. Being smart with your online presence is obviously key to managing various social media platforms.

  4. People so often like to bring up the anecdotes of one person or another that didn’t get a job because of something on facebook. Assuming these stories are true, what you are really talking about is essentially a story of something you did getting back to a prospective employer. That “story” could be a picture of you smoking crack or anything else.

    So, this is exactly what would happen in a small community where word gets around of everything we do. Yes, our mistakes will have consequences. OMG!

    I embrace the idea that someone can find out a lot about me very quickly as I can of them. It makes it a lot harder to be duped into trusting someone you shouldn’t just because they can act nice for limited periods of time.

  5. Good post. You’ve got good insights here and I think a great follow-up post would be “what not to post and where”. Small tips, “like don’t put your birthdate on Facebook” (or so I have been told, because it makes you a better target for identity theft). Also, I am amazed at the bright professional people I know using Four Square; which of course was linked to pleaserobme.com (although I believed the creators of this site are re-evaluating its purpose).

    I agree with you that in simpler times when community meant your physical community; everyone did know your business. However, as we move our communities online, we need to be careful of the wrong people who would want to use our visibilty and trust against us.

  6. People so often like to bring up the anecdotes of one person or another that didn’t get a job because of something on facebook. Assuming these stories are true, what you are really talking about is essentially a story of something you did getting back to a prospective employer. That “story” could be a picture of you smoking crack or anything else.

    So, this is exactly what would happen in a small community where word gets around of everything we do. Yes, our mistakes will have consequences. OMG!

    I embrace the idea that someone can find out a lot about me very quickly as I can of them. It makes it a lot harder to be duped into trusting someone you shouldn’t just because they can act nice for limited periods of time.

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