The Illusion of Privacy

Facebook rolled out major changes this week that once again have significant privacy implications for its’ members.  Privacy in online networks continues to be a significant concern as social networks change the rules along the way without adequately notifying members.  

Savvy online networkers who get paid to pay attention to all the tools and rules are having a hard time keeping up with all of the changes, so how do we expect the average joe to understand both the implications and how to resolve it?

Here is the deal – privacy as we know it has changed.  Privacy in online networks is currently somewhat of an illusion.  It this right? Moral?  Ethical? Do social networks have an obligation to protect the information we give them?

In my opinion they do have an obligation to maintain the standards I set when I join.  If they make changes to the platform, I want the opportunity to opt-in to the sharing of my data if the standards are widened.  I shouldn’t have to opt-out.  The default should be to protect me.  I want to be able to choose when, where and how my data, my friends and my habits are shared. Now let me get off my high horse and jump back to reality.  

Privacy is currently an illusion. Privacy violations continue to occur.  Social networks change policies and standards of practice without adequately notifying members.

If you have something you want to hide or need to hide, don’t put it online.   You can be genuine and authentic without revealing your deepest darkest secrets.  I could give you 27 ways to protect your privacy online and guess what?  They might all be outdated tomorrow.

Want to know how to modify your facebook settings based on the current changes?  Your Mom’s Guide to Those Facebook Changes and How to Block them from GigaOm is a great resource.

Consider the data you post and how that data could be used against you.  This isn’t a scare tactic and I don’t mean to be an alarmist.  Those of you who know me or of me are probably aware of how much data I release. A lot!  I am a heavy content producer on my blogs, facebook, twitter and other social networks.  I do my best to be authentic and real, yet you don’t find pictures of my children online, their names or the real inner workings of many parts of my personal life.  Someone could find out if they wanted to but this is one area I leave private.  The rest of me is pretty much an open book.  The benefits of being public are substantial for me personally.  Being public vs private is a highly personal choice.

Until online privacy standards are set and maintained, you have to understand the implications of sharing information online.  Online privacy is still an illusion. 

At 4pm EST on May 6, Amy Chorew and I will be hosting a webinar titled “Public or Private, can privacy and social networking coexist?”

Reserve your webinar seat now at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/249655891.