Thursday, September 20, 2007

Death of Privacy by Social Media?

iMedia Connection Inc. have published an intriguing article today on the "Death of Privacy" due to Social Media:

Amelia Torode (Head of Digital Strategy VCCP) asks: "As individuals, the web has offered us so many opportunities to connect. We share everything, all the time, with everyone. But where is it all going?"

Torode refers to Emily Nussbaum's New Yorker publication "Say Everything" on teenage online behavior representing the greatest generation gap since rock-n-roll and suggests we read it.


Nussbaum says: "The future belongs to the uninhibited."

Concluding paragraph:

"The benefits are obvious: The public life is fun. It’s creative. It’s where their friends are. It’s theater, but it’s also community: In this linked, logged world, you have a place to think out loud and be listened to, to meet strangers and go deeper with friends. And, yes, there are all sorts of crappy side effects: the passive-aggressive drama (“you know who you are!”), the shaming outbursts, the chill a person can feel in cyberspace on a particularly bad day. There are lousy side effects of most social changes (see feminism, democracy, the creation of the interstate highway system). But the real question is, as with any revolution, which side are you on?"


Torode says: "I think that by the end of this year we will move away from this era of radical transparency to one of refined privacy. Maybe we will find again that antiquated notion that sometimes silence is golden?"

Concluding paragraph:

"It is fine for us grown-ups to know that we have to manage our own personal "brand," but much harder (if not impossible) for a teenager to realise that everything we do online has tracks, and this indeed is a scary thought. I wonder whether something like Ning and other micro-social networks are the way forward. Ning allows you to create your own bespoke network of "friends" based around specific passion points, so in my Ning account group I would not dream of posting pictures from my hen night, because I communicate about the professional world that I inhabit."


I found both these conclusions thoughtful.

Other variables to think about are:
  • Who promotes the death of privacy through social or online media?
  • What are teenagers facing today that companies, schools, and families, do differently with use of online or social media and how does this impact on their sense of privacy?
  • How are adults responding to social media and the "death of privacy"?
  • Social media gives audiences across the board a voice - how does this impact not just individuals but entities?
An approach may be to survey youth on "the value of privacy" and the variables that contribute to the formation of that value. Social Media may be a contributor but it is also a vehicle for expression - also when values are violated.

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