Privacy in Social Networking and Media

Privacy in today’s digital world is a tough and tricky topic.  There would be no MySpace, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc., if people were really private with their lives.  But while there is a great number of people who enjoy posting every aspect of their lives, there is the also the same number of people who enjoy peering into other people’s lives; those of their friends, family members, and in many cases, complete strangers.  Our inquisitive nature keeps these social media portals up and running.

There is no way to please everyone when it comes to privacy and what can and cannot be posted.  The line for what people should keep private is very gray and varies between the individual person.  This is also why social media companies tend to always be under fire for either being too strict on what people can post or not strict enough.   I often hear the righteous term of “Free Speech” when it comes to the argument of privacy and censorship in social media. But when you put any type of information out onto the internet with the intent of it being public in any way, you must consider the consequences.

The article about Carly McKinney reminds me of a co-worker at a previous job who was always  under extreme scrutiny from management.  She had an exorbitant amount of friends and her Facebook page was always aflutter with activity.  Her constant posts and pictures portrayed her as quite a party girl and this caused her personal life to come into conflict with her professional life.  I personally felt that she was a really hard worker.  But despite having a legitimate health problem, when she would call in sick to work, her life on social media caused our entire team to dissect and gossip about her every move.  She ended up leaving the company because she was no longer happy with the way she was perceived by everyone on the team and she didn’t feel that she was going to have very much professional growth.

With regards to my own personal online presence, I maintain several social media profiles, a personal blog, a professional website with a professional blog, and a networked learning space.  It is extremely hard to separate the personal, professional, and educational aspects of my “online” life but I try really hard.  We are a young family and both my husband and myself enjoy posting pictures of our toddler daughter, the trips we take, and the events in our daughter’s life.  Just recently though, I went through my main social media profile (Facebook) and removed over 70 “friends”.  They were all people who I hadn’t had any real contact with in several years.  Doing this made me feel much safer about posting personal aspects of my life and now I can better focus my posts and updates to an audience that really cares.

So when it comes to privacy in social networking and media, where does the gray line of privacy fall for you?

Click HERE to view a great infographic called “The Sad State of Social Media Privacy” from MDG Blog.
The Sad State of Social Media and Privacy

Header image from here.