Before you post updates to your social networks, do you ever stop to think about how you’d feel if your words were read back to you in a room full of your friends and acquaintances? Much of what we say online is fairly innocuous, but every now and then we utter something borne perhaps of frustration or from a moment of over excited enthusiasm that later doesn’t seem so smart.
Two articles along this theme caught my eye this week. Firstly on Monday I learned of an app called FaceWash that seeks to cleanse a user’s Facebook profile of unsuitable content based on a predetermined keyword search. The other piece of news was that a number of workers at the Department for Transport in the UK had been sacked for misuse of social media.
Taking these two incidents in isolation, it is easy to shrug them off as other people not being sensible with their own activities, or too carefree with their privacy settings. However, the notion of privacy is increasingly being defined by the entity that holds the information, rather than the individual to whom that data pertains.
Facebook’s new Graph Search is causing quite a lot of discussion over whether or not it is a massive breach of privacy, of whether or not people are wrongly assuming that anything said online can ever be truly considered private. As one user on our Facebook page said this week:
“The site [Facebook] is built on sharing with others. If we want privacy in a quasi public place, don’t be part of the social media sites, like FB.”
Now, we’re not advising people to stop using social media sites, quite the contrary: we’d suggest using them with more thought. After all, by posting your thoughts to an online profile you’re essentially creating your library of you. Wouldn’t you rather make it a classic that will be remembered for years to come, rather than a throwaway comic strip that will be forgotten the next day.