Privacy or Relevance, That is the Question



This is an interesting podcast about the dangers of being online. Lindsey Stone Story

Social networking is gaining a permanent hold on my life. Facebook has taken over a huge chunk of my time.

When I started Facebooking, I was careful not to post names of anyone I knew. I only listed events after I attended them. I never talked about vacations until after I came home. I kept my younger relatives completely off my Facebook repartee. And politics? What politics? I never mentioned them. Somehow, somewhere along the way, I lost track of my guardedness. Face recognition software got better. Tagging became common and people identified me even if I didn't identify myself. People began calling my pets by name. I even started making comments about my religious views. I can't even pinpoint when I took this about face (pun intended.)

I found LinkedIn central to my business and posted most of my professional life on it. It was easier that trying to email resumes to interested parties. Etsy was a great outlet for me when I sold jewelry and Pinterest was fun to explore. Other people's websites where I performed music or showed my jewelry had mentions of me so I began to have a few entries in various search engines. I never did take to Twitter too much and gave up after a few attempts. However, I've recently begun to communicate with my nieces via Snapchat.

I do remember realizing that a few of my age peers didn't do any of this. They sounded paranoid and out of touch to me when talking about privacy and safety online. I thought they were damaging their own reputations by not having any digital presence. You could Google them and get nothing! I remember some of my colleagues did not want to be video'd doing even mundane things because they "might appear on the internet!" I laughed. At the same time, I envy their innocence and wonder what happened to mine.

Now, there is no turning back. My life is an open book. From Facebook alone, you can see plenty about me. On the other hand, if someone had no information about me except my name, age, gender and ethnic background, they could probably guess my political and religious leanings anyway. It isn't so difficult to get a general feel of an average American.

Unless, of course, I might have some opinions, extreme or otherwise that I never mention. I might keep some controversial thoughts to myself. My method of privacy these days is to feel free to speak my mind as long as its within the accepted opinion of someone who lives in my country in my peer group. If my opinions swing more to the extreme in any area, I shy away from posting them. I don't call attention to the real private world I inhabit. I've seen those that do and I don't want that much attention.

The life of Lindsey Stone is a great example for us. If you have a big spotlight on one part of your life that you foolishly posted, post other more acceptable and boring things about yourself. Create a new website, blog, etc. Join popular blogs and comment on them. Put yourself out there so the spotlight gets buried amongst the mundane parts of your life.

We all need to learn to maneuver our way through the internet jungle. There is no privacy anymore, only chatter. Just change the subject of it.