It’s not because I am afraid of this (although on some level I am- and btw, some NSFW language on this South Park clip, if you can believe it):
On the other side of the issue, neither am I one of those reactionaries that thinks people are overreacting to privacy issues. Facebook, by its actions, has been pretty clear in that it is not interested in your privacy.
- If I don’t want the world to know about something, I don’t post it. Anywhere. I may overshare, but I don’t share everything. (Believe it or not)
- Having everything about you posted online is not the same as people giving a fig about the stuff you post online. The true danger of oversharing is not giving out your info, but boring people to death. (I’m sure I’m frequently guilty of that, but the great thing about boring is people ignore it and move on)
- If I post something, I assume the world can see it, even if I put it behind some so-called social “firewall.” Look at Facebook, where people don’t understand that friends of friends can see some ostensibly private materials- and one of those FoF’s might be your Mom. Yup, your Mom knows about that very secret thing you posted. Why did you post that again? (Here’s a little something for people who find themselves in that situation).
- The “Steering Wheel Lock Bar,” or Deterrent policy: I use this when posting photos of kids. With pictures of my kid, and especially anyone else’s, I post them to Flickr only, behind a “friends only” firewall- and videos go up behind a password. That doesn’t mean no one can see them, it just means to me that they’re far less likely to pop up in searches and seen by strangers than other photos and videos. Like the steering wheel lock, it won’t prevent your car from being stolen, but it will make the thief look at the next car first. I rarely waver from that policy. (You may notice that I do not put pictures of my son on Facebook; my high school classmates noticed; I told them to friend me on Flickr)
- If I ever worry that I am posting too much info online, I cruise through my city’s assessor’s database. A couple clicks, and you know what I paid for my house and what my taxes are. (Have any realtor friends? You can probably find out what I owe on my mortgage)
- Changing your credit card numbers is just a phone call away. (And it always has been)
Why am I not deleting my Facebook account like a few high-profile Internuts are doing? Because there are people there with whom I interact that I don’t see anywhere else. That’s the only reason I need. If those people move, or if I ever acquire enough juice that people would follow me to the Next Big, that would be another story. For now, it’s Facebook, but in the same limited way outlined above.
Privacy is not dead; it’s just not what we think it is. Forget social network privacy policies; just follow your own.