Telling Tales: We all have our own personal "privacy settings" for the social web

This week, it is being reported that Foursquare--the current darling of the SocialGeo internet space, has crossed the 2 million user mark. The company is said to be adding 100,000 users per week.

Facebook is said to be eying 1 billion users, and Twitter has nearly 200 million users tweeting 65 million times a day.

It is easy to get caught up in these huge numbers and think "everybody's using social networks." But I was reminded twice this week that not "everyone" is comfortable exposing themselves to their social graph.

Early in the week I had breakfast with a colleague (at a location where I am a Foursquare mayor <g>) who told me she was but one of a legion of women who were against location-based service products. She reported on women who were afraid that their husbands would tweet that they were out of town, leaving the women alone and vulnerable to attack at home.

While, as a stereotypical guy, I do not have this fear, and have heard of no factual evidence to suggest a flurry of location-based robberies, or attacks, I believe this fear to be valid, and true to a large generational swath.

The second reminder of generational-fear/distaste of social networking came from a purported "expert" in technology--and a woman of the Baby Boomer generation. When asked her about her knowledge of location-based software pricing models, her response included this unsolicited personal comment:

"I've found it somewhat annoying when people on FB and Twitter start posting where they are. It gets excessive, and I've stopped following people on Twitter who do it too much."

Her comment reminded me of a business friend who I follow on Twitter, and his reports from the bedroom one evening--reporting with all toooo much detail on his evening's sexual performance.

While it is true that all of us have our personal limits of how much information is TMI (too much information) it is good to remember, and respect, a generation who is not comfortable broadcasting personal details--regardless of privacy settings.

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