I mega-heart people who tell it like it is and pull us up short from our delusional musings about social justice bla bla. While I am waiting for a snarky Truth About Occupy series, I came across an excellent article about privacy on any social networking site, specifically Facebook. (The article was written by Farhad Manjoo for Slate and appears in the Washington Post Sunday Business section on Dec 4, 2011).
My favorite quote: “indeed, the very idea of making Facebook a more private place borders on the oxymoronic, a bit like expecting modesty at a strip club.”
The heart of the matter: “It’s our misguided idea that we can control anything we post online. The entire point of Facebook is to allow us to connect and share stuff. It is thus, by its very nature, one of the most intrusive technologies ever built”
The so-what: “the ‘privacy controls’ on Facebook…should be regarded as aspirational….friends only, hopefully.”
What Manjoo makes obvious is that social networking is driven by humans and how one person respects the privacy of another is and always has been a very individual decision. Long before “sexting” and other electronic sharing methods, people were distributing information about others using old school methods — I’m pretty sure Betty Rubble gossiped about Wilma Flintstone. And I remember the days when people worried about protecting film negatives to prevent copies from being made of photos. It’s why J. Edgar Hoover is notorious enough to be played by Leonardo DiCaprio in a movie.
If we can embrace this paradigm shift about privacy, think how many millions of dollars can be redirected from lobbyists and lawyers to more beneficial uses. Like the next fake celebrity wedding and breakup.