Symposium Question – Have internet users lost a sense of privacy?

The answer is… Yes. In about, a bazillion ways. However, there is one major online habit that currently grinds the hell out of my privacy gears.

This concern stems from the ability to freely add content about other people at the drop of a hat.

Blogs, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow users to post photos, stories, opinions and more disturbingly, locations of others, with very little moderation, to be viewed and judged publicly.

A few months ago, a friend thought it would be a funny idea to orchestrate, produce, and upload a HILARIOUSLY incriminating photo of me to Facebook. The immature side of me (arguably the dominant side) wanted to congratulate the prankster on his devious antics. However, this side was quickly shafted following an irate text from the mother, who had realised the inappropriateness of the photo being made public. Admittedly, my Facebook privacy settings were not as strict as they could have been – I have since made an adjustment so that ‘tags’ have to be approved before being added to my wall for my ‘friends’ to view. That has taken care of Mum’s grumpy messages.

However, this does not stop the content from being up there entirely – it’s still on the great big space of internet. Content is still viewable for the ‘friends’ of the poster. It’s just not actively promoted to my ‘friends’. Whenever I go out with a group, there is inevitably one person who needs the world to know ‘where we are’ and ‘how much fun we’re having!!’. Here enters the idea of social media narcissism. I think Daniel Radcliffe puts it pretty well – ‘It’s an interesting thing: The internet isn’t about having a good time – it’s about showing people you’re having a good time. When you go out to bars and clubs, nobody’s actually dancing or enjoying themselves; they’re all taking photos of themselves at the bar so that later on they can say, “I was there, wasn’t it great?” It’s crazy.’ It sure is Mr. Potter. Perhaps I’ve drifted a little off topic now.

My point is, when I’m tagged into a location, someone, somewhere knows where I am. And I don’t want that. Hell, maybe I’ve told work I was sick that day – a photo of me playing Laser Tag is the last thing I want in my boss’s hands. (Of course, for any potential employers reading this blog, I am far too professional to engage in such an act.)

Put simply, I want to constant management of what is out there, of me, for others to see. Unfortunately, this has become beyond my control. So clearly…. Yes – internet users have indeed lost a sense of privacy.


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