Infamy vs. Privacy

It starts like this: someone you know posts something on America’s favorite social network, people respond within the social sphere but things get a little out of hand, and all of a sudden the issue enters reality. At this point, people begin to get a little uncomfortable. We begin to see the thin fabric that separates us from the real and the digital world. Some of us really don’t want the things we say on the internet to escape into reality. This sparks a chain of internet debates concerning, “internet privacy.” Ironically, most of these debates happen on Facebook.

Personally, I think that internet privacy is an oxymoron. I mean, seriously, how daft do you have to be to not realize that you are communicating through a medium more expansive and interactive than radio and television combined. I’m going to be brutally honest, if you think even a tiny bit of what you post on Facebook,search on google, or tweet on twitter is safe. You are wrong. These are companies. Your information has value. You are valuable. Facebook is one of the major perpetuators of this idea. Why do you think they’re worth billions of dollars? It’s not because they give the best social networking experience to their users. I mean, they do do that; but that’s not where they profit. You give so much of your personal information to Facebook. Where you live, where you work, how old you are, what kind of car you drive, what your favorite bands are. Pretty much anything that defines you. That’s what’s important to marketers.

I’ll give people a little more credit than that, though. I’m sure you know that’s going on. It’s pretty hard to miss. The part that drives me insane is that all of a sudden when someone is able to use your information for personal gain, that’s when you become a privacy advocate. That’s when it becomes your responsibility to post publicly about how much of a travesty it is that people can access your information in the public domain and use it for “evil”. Then we make all sorts of blanket statements about how Facebook needs to “fix” their privacy settings.

I’ve got news for you, the privacy settings are there. They work just fine. Facebook has no responsibility to conceal your posts for you, and the fact of the matter is it’s in their best interests not to do so. If you’re afraid that what you’re posting is out there for people to see, then it’s best to educate yourself on turning on the privacy settings inside of Facebook. Nobody else is going to do that for you, and no amount of complaining is going to fix anything.

The other solution is, well, if you don’t want your private matters exposed, then seriously consider what you’re doing before you post. Think about it this way, “would I be opposed to a complete stranger looking at this?” If the answer to that question is yes, then don’t post it because theres alway’s a chance that might be the case. If you aren’t willing to accept that, then maybe social media isn’t your thing.

Now, the fun way to think about it is that you gain notoriety for each thing you do. I like to think I’m a little more internet famous with each post. I watch how many likes I get on something, and supplement myself an ego boost for each one. I take solace in the fact that not many people are going to care about the things I say until I genuinely offend someone. Until that happens, I’ll leave my windows open and be an exhibitionist. (Not literally)

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