Consider Your Audience

My mom recently told me a story about one of her 4th grade students interrupting class to ask about a picture of her on Facebook. Other students immediately chimed in as well, revealing their extensive knowledge of her family, where she went on summer vacation, what she did on her birthday last week, her favorite inspirational quote, and so on and so forth. Her profile — which she thought was set to private and could only be viewed by friends — was Facebook-stalked by a bunch of 10-year-olds with nothing better to do.

It’s scary to me how easy it is to make our personal lives public in today’s digital world. We market and brand ourselves daily via social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook without truly considering our audience. With over 400 million people connecting to Facebook every day, we now have the chance to share our personal lives and opinions with an audience 10x greater than the one President Barack Obama had for his recent State of the Union address. These onlookers could include anyone from your grandmother to your future boss to your creepy next door neighbor who strolls to the mailbox every morning wearing nothing but a bath robe, so it’s comforting to know that there are options available to minimize how much of our lives we share online.

However, the method of securing our privacy through these social networking sites is constantly changing: either being made simpler for the sake of clarity or more intricate for a more personal approach to your privacy. While it is beneficial for companies to update their policies for the sake of the user, it can often lead to consumer confusion in the process. For example, I helped my mom update her Facebook settings and found the new options far too verbose and confusing. By the time I’d finished, I wasn’t even positive that I’d checked the right options.

Google recently updated their privacy policy by getting rid of 60 different policies and combining them into one that is more concise and easy to understand. Perhaps some day other companies will follow suit. But until that happens, I think we should all take another look at the information we are sharing with the world — literally, the world.

To see just how much the internet has invaded your personal life, click here and type in your name and city.

This entry was written by archie, posted on February 1, 2012 at 11:16 am, filed under Offerings, Perspectives, Rants, Social Media and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

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