Keep that to yourself

I read an interesting article about Privacy in the era of Social Media. Check out the full text: Privacy is Not Dead, Just Evolving.

The article is straightforward. Privacy is not what it used to be – duh. It’s evolved as the technology we use on a day to day basis has evolved. I use this line all the time: social media has truly blurred the lines between what is public and what is private. Before, we may have relied on people to transfer information, now, we can see things instantly on Facebook and Twitter, from the unnecessary “I’m brushing my teeth” to “The elections in Iran are taking an interesting turn“.

So, because we have all of these windows into the lives of our friends and acquaintances (and even people we’ve never met), does that mean privacy is dead? Maybe sites like would say yes.

But personally, I don’t think so. Yes, we overshare and we know too much about each other’s lives. For example, I’ve said to a friend of mine many times that I’m caught up on his life because I follow his Twitter feed even though I can go weeks without seeing him. But it’s our choice to reveal all of that. We decide what we share and how much we share. As long as we have the opportunity to reveal information or keep it to ourselves, privacy can’t disappear.

That said, privacy isn’t something to take for granted. What you make public can have an impact, positive or negative, on your personal and professional lives. If you’re flagged because of something that you have connected to your online profile, remember that it was your choice to make it public and for putting it online in the first place. Yeah, yeah, maybe a friend put up a naked photo of you holding a beercan and you detagged yourself, but you’re still connected. Figure out how to untangle yourself from it – the photo can exist without you having a tie to it by name.

Like any brand, the image of yourself that you portray is entirely under your control. And so long as that’s the case, privacy, in some form of another, is here to stay. It’s now a question of how we adapt to it with all the technology that’s out there.

What do you think? Is privacy on its way out? Do you see your personal brand being tarnished by something out of your control?


3 responses to “Keep that to yourself

  1. Good post. The emergence of social networking software in the workplace is becoming a huge trend in IT. We’ve been saying the same thing for generations. Whether in person over the fence, over the phone, over email, and now on FB or twitter, every generation talks about their boss, their friends, their family, etc.. It’s just that now that info is out there much faster and in a much wider net. The danger in FB/twitter isn’t the technology; it’s us. Being safe in a web 2.0 world means changing the way we think. It’s realizing we’re connected even when the other person isn’t right in front of us, and they can see/hear us so we need to be discreet.

  2. Facebook would be 10x more trustworthy if photo tagging required an “opt-in” by the tag-ee. The current opt-out approach is the antithesis of permission marketing.

    • The HR Intern

      I totally agree, but it does jive with the rest of the Facebook policy, which certainly swings towards openness. They’re trying to push everything towards public and encourage the knowledge sharing. So while sometimes I wish I had to approve a picture before my name was attached to it, I do understand where they’re coming from.

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