Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Social networking and privacy online

In a useful article from Nick Galvin of the Sydney Morning Herald, entitled, The kiss and tell of social networks, possibly the most apt and thought-provoking observation is the one at the end of this quote:

Among many younger net users there is now an assumption that everything should be shared and a casualness about what was once thought of as personal information that makes many older people shudder.

"I don't know what it is like to live your entire life publicly online," says social media expert Jeffrey Veen. "But there are kids today who are figuring it out."

Veen has been at the heart of the internet revolution all his working life. Among other things, he has been a key designer behind hugely successful social media applications such as Flickr and the blogging service TypePad.

He says attitudes to privacy and information sharing are easily defined by the generation you belong to.

"There is a generational divide that is as strong today as the divide that existed between kids and their parents over music in the 1950s," says Veen, visiting Sydney last week for an industry conference, Web Directions South.

"People older than 25 years think of everything they do on their computer as being private unless they share it, where people younger than that think of everything they do on a computer as public unless they choose to make it private. This is a fundamental difference."

(my highlighting)

The article points out some of the traps of this thinking - eg. the use of social networking/googling by employers to assess prospective employees, which can be a plus or minus, depending on what they discover.

No comments: