Just this morning, I received a Facebook notification stating that “[somebody] likes that I’m attending [specific event].” This would freak my mother out. As a mothers day present last year, I bought my mom and iPad and set her up a Facebook and Instagram account. I can’t even count on two hands the amount of phone calls I’ve received from her saying things like “how do I get this off my Facebook?” or “how did this person see that post and leave a comment?” I just shrug it off and try to explain the workings of the internets and social medias like I would to my five year old nephew.
And that’s kind of where I stand. It’s hard for me to personally identify with just one group out of the three. In some scenarios, I’d put myself into the privacy elitist category. I carefully cultivate the amount of private (i.e. location info) I put out there. I rarely use check-in services and have 2-step authentication set up for every account that allows it. I use a different password for every website (which was hard at first, but not so bad now). My Computer, iPhone and iPad are password locked. I’ll even Facebook my name to make sure there aren’t any duplicate accounts trying to steal my online identity, because I have had this happen to more than one of my friends.
Most of the time, I’m in the middle ground. Every four months or so, I’ll google myself as the article states, just to see what pops up. I haven’t seen anything bad to date. I’ll post about things without thinking twice, because I know I’m not posting (or doing) anything that would be incriminating to a prospective client or employer. I’ll go through my facebook activity log to see everything I’ve liked or been tagged in to make sure that nothing defaming has been posted and tied to me. Haven’t had any problems yet. I have a special spam email set up to which I send any email updates or signups forms of any kind. Recently, I’ve even been setting up a special google voice number to give out to any business or that can be put on the net, so I don’t compromise my personal number.
With all that being said, I love the idea that I have nothing to hide. I have no problem setting up a new account on a website or social media. I don’t mind apps tracking me if they can provide me a service or data analysis that is to my benefit. While the whole NSA spying thing is unnerving and worrisome; on the same token it doesn’t bug me. Spy on me all I want. I don’t worry about Facebook or Google ads, because I have ad-blocking software installed, so I don’t see them and they can’t track me. But if you can give me an ad for a deal of something I want to buy; then more power to you. I would love to have the deals come to me instead of having to search for them all the time.
There are very real privacy implications to our usage of social media. I am a firm believer that you are responsible for what you post and what you are tied too. But I also believe that we shouldn’t try and hide ourselves so much from the internet that it’s benefits become useless. There are a lot of awesome websites and services that require us to put ourselves out there just a little bit. It’s up to the individual user to decide if they trust the site/service and if they want to put that info out there. Like anything else in this world, you get what you put into it; Siri on my iPhone provides me more useful and accurate results because I use it regularly. If you don’t know how to securely use the internet than you need to learn. There are plenty of resources out there to help you be secure, and I’m a believer in Digital Darwinism.