Your Online Privacy is Your Own Responsibility


These children played Chinese Whisper (aka "the gossip game") to raise awareness for autism.


Just found this link to a Mashable post by Ben Parr via Colleen Pence (@colleenpence), a local social media superstar.

Here’s the nutgraf: 

The central problem is that people believe that Facebook and the web in general should be able to protect the information we post online. I argue that this is untrue, because it goes against the fundamental design of Facebook, social media, and the web itself. We should be relying on ourselves for our privacy, and not turning Facebook into our convenient scapegoat.


I do still take issue with having to “remind” FB that I like things kept on the DL, *but* as for content–from pics to comments–getting away from us, well… that’s not exactly “new.” Betcha a buck that when early humans first took quill to papyrus someone decided to get snarky or draw a picture of a pal in a compromising situation that later got shared ’round the campfire. (Wiki for “gossip”)

It’s just that, now, if that picture of you in your undies and a towel during that super awe-some Spring Break trip gets circulated among your friends, it could also land in your prospective boss’s fingertips. Ick. And it doesn’t matter if that image is on an iPhoto or was made back in the day on your buddy’s Polaroid. Double ick.

With that in mind, I don’t think so much that social media killed privacy. I’m pretty sure that privacy was a sketchy idea anyway, the definition made slippery by cultural norms and personal temperament. At the risk of overgeneralizing, what an introvert may consider “over-sharing,” an extrovert may regard as “micro-sharing.” 

Still, social media has reminded us that we’re all responsible for our own comments and actions. It also reminds us that the Golden Rule applies to the Internet as well. Basically, be a thinking grown-up with what you share. Slip up even once and an inappropriate picture or quip can be all over the Internet in an instant–far faster than any innocent, children’s game of gossip could ever demonstrate.

With that in mind, here’s what you need to stop doing on Facebook today.

(Thanks to Dani Greer (@blogbooktours) for that last link, btw.)

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2 Replies to “Your Online Privacy is Your Own Responsibility”

  1. Pamela,

    You already know I agree with you on this. Great post. I’ve always been careful about what I share via social media and websites and the same is true in my real life. Common sense should transcend electronics and IP addresses. And Facebook (or any other social network) has no responsibility to protect me from myself.

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