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Does The Social Web Mean The End of Privacy?

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg has gotten a lot of flack lately for his pronouncement (during an interview with TechCrunch) that privacy norms have evolved over the years and privacy is essentially dead.  I watched the interview myself and think the criticism is overdone.  I think that Zuckerberg has correctly described the times and his company is taking advantage of our voyeuristic culture.  Facebook did not create this culture.  I think it started with the first reality show on MTV back in 80s. We watched the teens living together and reveled in their pranks and arguments.

Does the social Web mean the end of privacy?  Are MySpace and Facebook to blame for all the personal revelations we spew out every day?  Or should we blame Google and Bing, which manage to index the Web and let anyone find out gobs and gobs of information about each of us?

When I Google my name (Joanna Pineda), I find lots of information that I WANT the search engines to find and index.  But I also find pages that have my address, my political contributions and address, yada, yada.

I’m not happy that Facebook changed its privacy settings and defaulted some of my information to be available to everyone, but I actually appreciate the more granular control that I now have over my posts, link and photos.

What do you think?  Is privacy dead?  How much do you reveal on social networks?  Are you doing anything to keep out of the search engines?

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Image: Alan Cleaver, Creative Commons

Founder/CEO and self-proclaimed Chief Troublemaker of Matrix Group International Joanna Pineda is a Women Grow Business enthusiast. She is known for her visionary big-picture thinking and drive for excellence. Combining her broad liberal arts background and passion for technology, she started Matrix Group in 1999, today a leading interactive agency. As a trusted advisor, Joanna inspires and motivates her clients and employees alike to simply, “be better” with her mantra being: Do or Do Not. There is no try!

Cross-posted with permission from The Matrix Files.


    1. I don’t think social media means the end of privacy, but i think it symbolizes a reconsideration that is taking place about the value of privacy and how much of it we actually need. There is cost to our privacy…in terms of potential relationships made, conversations inspired, ,lessons learned, etc. In my opinion, people are choosing to sacrifice a large extent of their privacy because of the benefits they get from doing so.

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    2. Hi Eric. Very nicely said. I agree with you that social media does not mark the end of privacy, but we're all certainly sharing a lot more information with others these days. I also wonder if social media is merely amplifying a person's natural inclination to share more or less information about themselves. Last thought: As we have come to value transparency and candor, it probably only makes sense that we share more information about ourselves in the process. Thanks for the comment! Joanna

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    3. Agree with both comments so far… especially that a person's tendency to share online is a reflection of their natural tendencies offline. A big difference is that your online activities are recorded for all time! So as future generations grow up on the social web, we'll find a much longer history available for each person and perhaps things that they felt were acceptable to share as an 18 year old, they wouldn't be so willing to as a 45 year old. I wonder if this will ultimately change how we as individuals “judge” or weight each other in the future and be more willing to let old lapses of judgment pass into the back recesses of Google's databases.

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    4. Hi Eric. Very nicely said. I agree with you that social media does not mark the end of privacy, but we're all certainly sharing a lot more information with others these days. I also wonder if social media is merely amplifying a person's natural inclination to share more or less information about themselves. Last thought: As we have come to value transparency and candor, it probably only makes sense that we share more information about ourselves in the process. Thanks for the comment! Joanna

      4
    5. Agree with both comments so far… especially that a person's tendency to share online is a reflection of their natural tendencies offline. A big difference is that your online activities are recorded for all time! So as future generations grow up on the social web, we'll find a much longer history available for each person and perhaps things that they felt were acceptable to share as an 18 year old, they wouldn't be so willing to as a 45 year old. I wonder if this will ultimately change how we as individuals “judge” or weight each other in the future and be more willing to let old lapses of judgment pass into the back recesses of Google's databases.

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