Monday, July 18, 2011

Privacy and Social Media

As part of my course Developing a Social Media Strategy, I have to write a post that incorporates and connect to an article I have recently read or something current I’ve seen in the news.

One day about two weeks ago, my husband emailed me an article that he had read on ctv.caGrown-up Facebook users similar to young people: study .   After reading the article, I thought it was an interesting subject for my course.

Apparently adults are not much better than teenagers to protect their privacy while on social networks.   Ah!   Really?     I could have told you that without going through a study just by the things I read sometimes….

Nevertheless, I think that having a study on the subject will make people realize about the kind of information they put on facebook and other social networks.  

According to the article, one of the authors of the study says

You should treat anything that you post on facebook like you’re posting on the front page of a newspaper, so you want to be comfortable that you’d be OK with your employer seeing that, your family member seeing that friends, children,…

As I read these words, it reminded me how sometimes I have read some posts on facebook that got me wondering why in the world someone would put that up.   Honestly, I must admit that it drove me mad at times because somehow it affected me quite a bit – like becoming mad of the people and judging them.   I quickly realized that I was not on a good path and this was affecting me more than I would have thought.    I took some steps to reduce the amount of reading from some people.   

Did you know that nowadays numerous employers will check out your facebook page before proceeding to hiring you?    And that if you don’t get a job, it could be because of something you had posted on facebook?   Unfortunately, if this is the case, you are more than likely never know about it as the potential employers will not divulge the information.

The study has compared the habits of two groups – a young one composed of young people ages nine to eighteen (288 facebook users) and an older one where the ages were ranging from nineteen to seventy-one (285 facebook users).  

According to the research, the younger users would be more likely to reveal more information simply because they are spending more time on the social networks.  However, whether the younger generation is not as foolish as we first thought or that the older generation are more foolish concerning the protection of their privacy the study has not revealed this.   Generally speaking

there is this belief that younger people, especially teenagers, are somewhat foolish when it comes to privacy and social media, and as people get more mature, older, they become more careful and more protective of their privacy.

However, the study has identified a trend that the younger generation would be more likely to do – ‘friend collecting’ which is simply to add people they do not like or do not know personally.

After reading this article, my first reaction was that I wasn’t surprised by the results.    I tend to agree that people should be more careful about the kind of information they post on facebook or other social networks.  In 2011, I have already a number of friends who had some sort of virus that has spread on their friends on facebook as well as been hacked (not by family members).

I personally am somewhat protective on the kind of information I would put on my tag line on facebook.    I try not too vent too much to the whole world when something is not going well or if someone if frustrating me.   Oh I am tempted at times… but I remind myself that it is not a proper behavior and that in the end it could cause more problems than anything else.    It is like pouring fuel on a fire – close your eyes and picture a fire to which you add some gasoline in it… what would happen?  Exactly – an out of control fire.    

Complaining and posting your own frustration on facebook can have a similar effect on a relationship – it can get out of control…

So be wise.  Think twice before posting.    Is it necessary?  Is it putting someone down?   Is it adequate?   Is it out of taste?   

Same goes with pictures, videos, comments and so on.

Always think about the consequences before acting.

To come back on the study for one last time, I was surprised to see that kids as young as nine years old were included.    Honestly it is beyond me to understand why parents would allow their kids of that age to use social networks.   Honestly, I am reticent to let my own ten years old boy to navigate these sites just yet.    I don’t think he has the maturity to make wise decisions while using them.    Maybe I am ‘old school’ for that matter – yes coming from someone who has a master degree in Information Technology.   But I want to protect him and his siblings as much as possible against damages that could affect their whole life in the future.

In the meantime, I am planning to become wiser while using social network and be very careful of the kind of information I will post.   

What do you think about the article?   How do you protect yourself while being on facebook?   Are you careful about the type of information you post?


Personal blog of a homeschool family. We love to travel with our RV when we can. Fishing, discovering new places, photography are some of our favourite activities!

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