Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Are We REALLY That Concerned With Privacy?

I find it interesting when people throw a fit over privacy issues with regards to the Internet. We live in a world were we voluntarily tweet, Instagram and Facebook about our lives. The Internet is a public space, and yet we feel comfortable sharing our lives through such platforms.
My question is, why do we feel the need to share so much information about our lives on the Internet? Why do we want people to see what we ate, what we wore, where we went? Where does this urge derive from?

I am sure most of us are aware that Facebook basically owns the content we post on it, and yet we still post pictures, personal information etc. We want others to know about us, we want to be “Facebook creeped” – it gives us this feeling of importance, that our lives are interesting for others to watch, almost like a form of celebrity status. This spotlight however comes with a cost, Facebook sells our information and photos to advertisers. I kind of compare Facebook to the airport – in order to fly you must be willing to give all your information, get searched and essentially give up your privacy to strangers. Same thing with Facebook – if you want to be apart of this exciting world that everyone is participating in, you must give up your information to be used at their discretion. It might seem like a “free” site, but nothing in life is free – there is always a catch. When people are concerned with privacy, my response to them is: “you should have thought about that before you sold soul to Facebook!” – Dramatic I know, but it’s partially true…

Since the emergence of social media, the best way I can describe the web is a big public scrapbook. Certain things that used to be considered as intimate such as the viewing of photo albums have now become a public thing. Pictures are selectively taken to be displayed on these social media networks for others to see as well. Moreover, our relationships have changed as a result of these platforms. Before, people who knew things about your life were privileged, where as now anyone can look you up, and find out what you’ve done and where you have been - essentially who you are. Who “you” are is at everyone’s fingertips.  We seem to “trust” the Internet too much. For example, most of us will “friend” people on Facebook after only meeting them once. Essentially we are allowing strangers have information about our lives. But in this online world, the more friends or followers you have the “cooler” and more important you seem. No one is really forcing us to be apart of this phenomenon, but yet we do it because in my opinion I believe that it is something that fuels our ego.

The Internet is public, so if privacy is your concern then you should have thought about that before you signed up for Facebook, tweeted about feelings, or Instagramed your vacation. The purpose of this blurb was not to bash all these platforms, because that would be hypocritical of me. However it is to bring awareness of what we are posting and who has access to it. Remember whatever is on the Internet is essentially there forever… be smart. 

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