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Parts Private

Letters & Spoofs

pri·vate [prahy-vit] – adjective – confined to or intended only for the persons immediately concerned; confidential. personal and not publicly expressed.

That word is the hottest topic of debate in the realm of social media yet it’s something most don’t fully grasp. Privacy, schmivacy. Where do folks get off huffing about privacy in an open network? Seriously guys, this has to stop right now. You have no idea how silly you look. It has gotten so out of hand that the New York Times of all places even breaks it down with a chart that sizes up legalities against the US Constitution. Really? Has society fallen that deep into a pit of paranoia?

In defense of the legal discourse that comes from social networking sites : they must have it – basically because opportunistic folks are capable of bringing down a company with lawsuits. Consider the discourse one big insurance policy. And unless you haven’t noticed, anytime a change is made to said policy, they post a prominent note about it – a note I am guessing most folks ignore. Enter the neurotics – they dissect the note and – OH MY GOD, facebook will make public my photo I posted of me jet-skiing in Aruba to travel companies! The outrage! Puh-lease.

Look folks – YOU control your online lives from the onset. YOU choose what to broadcast and what not to. I’d like to emphasize the word broadcast. What you are neglecting is that no matter how private your settings become, the ONLINE world will always be public. There aren’t any do-overs and take-backs here. The sooner you realize this, the better your lives will be. If you slap your aunt in the face, you can never take that slap back. The same thing applies to publishing things to the internet. It’s in the rulebook from day one. A rulebook you did not read or understand. The delete button is the biggest illusion on the world wide web.

So I beg you. Please stop the whining. Facebook and other social networks will not re-architect themselves for you. And unless you are a spy, a terrorist, a criminal or a cheat – chances are there is little you should be worried about. Moreover, there is little you can do to change things. In short, get over yourselves. The social networks give you adequate privacy controls for displaying your data. If something is private or personal, it does not belong on a social network, period. If something shouldn’t be in the public domain – don’t post it. End of story.

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10 Responses to “Parts Private”

  1. malathip says:

    Agreed with these details, clarified. People forget that they draw the attention to themselves and cry for privacy. tedious!

  2. The Dark Engine says:

    I agree on the broad terms. People do need to be aware of the implications of the medium, and certainly those who use social media to “broadcast” themselves, as I and I assume you do, have no grounds to object personally. But many people aren’t seeking to broadcast themselves; they regard social media as a sort of fancy conference call and they don’t expect anyone to be listening in. They are wrong of course, but we need to understand how the (blamelessly) unschooled use social media.
    My concern is not with whether my information is accessible, but with how that information is used by other parties. My objection is to the commercialization of my information, regardless of whether I consider it private or not. No one should be making money from any aspect of my existence without my permission.

  3. Filthy Rich says:

    perhaps my biggest fault is giving folks too much credit for being rational and smart and the bottom line is most aren’t. how else would george bush be president for 8 years right?

    but i digress. @TheDarkEngine – no one will make money for any aspect of your existence without your permission. even facebook. but when you sign up, the fine print is giving up some of that permission. so the decision is participate or not. they are offering a free service, but in order to operate optimally, they have to make money in whatever ways they have structured. but i feel they are very skillfully transparent about it. all it takes is the patience and smarts to read through it and understand it.

  4. Naz says:

    Could not have said it better myself Rich. I keep saying privacy is an illusion. People shouldn’t put anything up that they deem “private”. They should be discriminating in what they reveal. No matter how many times I go through my Facebook privacy, I don’t ever click anything and feel really secure about it. I know it’s not really protecting me. It’s an illusion of protection, like the armed forces standing outside The Time Warner building. Can they REALLY stop an act of terror by just standing there? All they do is make me uncomfortable, because no- I don’t like starting my morning off by seeing men with weapons. After what happened with that Times Square incident, it’s apparent nothing is “private”. You can’t even stroll down the street without being recorded by cameras everywhere.

  5. The Dark Engine says:

    @FilthyRich: I don’t see the need for the attitude in your response. I’m quite rational, intelligent and patient enough to understand all of this. But most people aren’t, and Facebook goes to great lengths to make certain that they stay that way. To say that they are “skillfully” transparent is being charitable. They are deliberately obfuscatory about their privacy policy, changing it often and hiding the relevant settings in a labyrinth of pages. They automatically opt people in to changes that most won’t understand and the rest will be worn down by trying to navigate. This is not an admirable way to run a business, and it is not an adequate response simply to say that those people are too stupid or lazy and so are getting what they deserve.

  6. Filthy Rich says:

    @TheDarkEngine – I didn’t intend to come off with attitude, and sometimes intonation cannot be measured with a string of text. So my apologies if it appeared that way.

    My beef is not with intelligent folks – it is with those that spend a great deal of time fighting something they haven’t read thoroughly.

    I also think “skillfully transparent” is just as wrong as “deliberately obfuscatory” – I think we’re both giving the powers that be at FB too much credit. I’ve been employed in the web development and media sector for over a decade and I can say with great sincerity that nothing is as deliberate as it seems. What often happens is that features are rushed out the door (time is a crazy sticking point) and consequences and legalities are dealt with afterwards. It’s sloppy and continuity is shot. It’s like watching LOST. If you are familiar with the show, it is painfully evident that a lot of the narrative is made up as they go along (meaning there is no master plan).

    All that said, it does not excuse FB for flubbing their privacy policy and burying it in very inaccessible discourse. But it doesn’t also excuse all the folks that are up in arms about it. The simple solution is to close your account if the concerns outweigh the benefits.

  7. JuanCaVarela says:

    Completely agree with you. People should be aware that what you post on a Social network is there to share with the world.

  8. The Dark Engine says:

    @Filthy Rich: Agreed. And sorry if I over-reacted.

  9. Amy B. says:

    The Amyloidosis Foundation estimates that approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with amyloidosis each year in North America and that blood cancers overall have increased more than 40% in the last decade.

  10. Filthy Rich says:

    um.. thanks for the factoids amy b.

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