This was a question on one of my discussion boards for school and it made me think about a potential workshop I would like to do in the future.
In my opinion there is no question that we have a problem with sharing our private information on social media. Furthermore, it becomes more evident with each day that there is no such thing as “private” when it comes to what we share, and anything you do online will live there forever.
Making matters worst Facebook seems to want to know where you are, who you are with, how you are feeling, what you like, what you are doing at every second of the day. While this seemed like an innocent way to share and connect with friends, it became scary when we began to find out that this information was being collected and shared for profit with government agencies, retailers and other entities. Barnes’ article states we post our birthdays, pictures of our families, phone numbers, addresses, locations with no regard to who can use this information.
What does it mean when your online activity becomes an extension or snapshot of our identity? With social media like Facebook and Twitter being such popular networking tools, it is very difficult not to over share when trying to connect. Facebook in my opinion is able to do things Linkedin cannot. More of my friends are on Facebook, most of us graduated together, went through the same financial crisis, and we are working our ways through our 20s, dealing with high unemployment rates, a rough housing market, and watching the world change before our eyes. With that said if I am looking for resource or opportunity this is the first place I would go. It be a job, a mechanic, a dog sitter, or just a good place to have coffee. This is where I feel I would get the best results in a timely manner. I was even e-introduced to my mentors on Facebook.
With no visible line to be crossed, depending on your field having no digital presence can sometimes be just as questionable. I remember applying to the iSchool the first time feeling that I needed to clean up my digital footprint. I created two of everything. Needless to say the profiles with my actual name on it were not nearly as exciting or thought provoking. After not getting in, I went on a quest for self identity and realized if a place does not want to accept you for who you truly are, that probably isn’t the place you want to be. Furthermore I had to find my own mission statement and define who I wanted to be, and really ask myself was I that person? From that day forward I started assigning my real name to my work. I also fully understood that the information I was sharing on my alternate social media outlets was nothing that I would be embarrassed to own up too, stand by and speak upon as Domonique Meeks. Being into social justice and speaking out for equality is what makes me who I am. I asked myself what if Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, or Mohammed Ali decided that when they wanted to fight for equality they would do it under different names in fear of missing out on more lucrative opportunities? Both stood for what they believed in and right or wrong we learned from both of there acts of greatness and short comings. With that said I believe the biggest difference between my first and second application to the iSchool was really me understanding who I was, being honest about what I wanted and being able to articulate that in person, on blog, Twitter, and Facebook while not being afraid to do so.
Where things get tricky and scary is the understanding that I did not find my identity or true voice until I was 25. While there were steps taken to get to this identity years before hand, I am guilty of sharing items I have sinced tried to remove off of social media that probably still live somewhere in a database, or on some ones external hard drive. It is important to explain to people especially the generations after mine who have always known the internet that what you share is forever. Although their age and maturity may say that they might not be old enough to not take things at face value, we must find better ways to explain. Every facebook post, check in, like, tweet, favorite, email, etc. is a paper trail left behind.
Some have argued in recent times the younger generation is not using Facebook as much (Dickey 2013). There is speculation that teens have moved on and spend more time on apps like tumblr, youtube, Snapchat and other mobile friendly sites. As Facebook became a household name grandparents, parents and older generations are using the service. For some teens, sharing too much on Facebook, could prove to be too risky. Along came Snapchat, the service known for being the app that promised your picture and video messages would disappear seconds after they were viewed. My introduction was an article a few years back that said teens were using snap chat to sext, and a few months later from some friends who were using Snapchat to send ridiculous pictures to each other. This all without the mention that phones have a screenshot feature. In the conversations about how great Snapchat there was never any mention that someone would even think twice about screen-shotting the image or even the fact that the content would live online forever to be used by hackers. This education is needed! Here is why: App Behind The Snapchat Leak Admits It Was Hacked, Apologizes (Links to an external site.).
We must find a way to explain that whatever you put on the internet or over a broadband connection has the potential to be used against you for years to come. It is a scary thought, but unfortunately it is true.
DICKEY, M. (2013, January 11). Surprise: Teenagers Say Facebook Isn’t Their Most Used Site. Retrieved November 2, 2014, Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/most-used-web-products-tumblr-facebook-2013-1#ixzz3HwfP4dxX
Barnes, Susan B. (2006). A privacy paradox: Social networking in the United States. First Monday, 11 (9). Retrieved (November 1, 2014) from http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1394/1312