I like Eric Qualman’s quote in Socialnomics that “one day we’ll all have our 15 minutes of privacy” and not fame. Now I wonder what “privacy” really means here. And why we wouldn’t have any, as the quote implies, most of the time.
Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively. The easiest way to ensure privacy would therefore be to keep your mouth shut. But in a world that is all about sharing things online, privacy means sharing information not with everyone but with a group of people you have deliberately chosen.
But you know that privacy is hard to achieve once you join a social network. If there are lacks in privacy it’s e.g. “bad Facebook”. We are trusting them with our data and they should keep it save. But sometimes there are, willing or unwilling, breaches of privacy policies.
But aren’t we responsible for what we post and what we let other people see? It’s me who is responsible to disclose or not disclose information about me and to make sure others are doing the same about me (yes, I’m talking about the drunken party pictures others like to post). In the end, as I said, maybe it’s better to simply keep your mouth shut. If you’d cheat on your boyfriend and don’t want him to know, you wouldn’t write a postcard to your best friend about it, would you. Chances someone sees it who isn’t supposed to see it, however low, remain. Or you wouldn’t put a paper on you front door telling everybody you’re on vacation so that everybody knows, it’s save to break into your flat for a week or two. And it’s the same with information in social networks. You usually don’t tell people you’re pregnant either until it’s quite save, the pregnancy will go well. Why would you therefore put up a profile for your unborn baby, as Facebook allows to nowadays. The tips of not posting anything you wouldn’t tell your mom or write on the back of a postcard are good guidelines for things you could or shouldn’t post.
With the possibility to share information comes responsibility and maybe this is something people should be more aware of instead of complaining about social networks not keeping their privacy. Not everything in live must or rather should be shared.