prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Radical Transparency in the Internet Age

Posted by prof e on February 5, 2011

When it comes to managing your online identity you typically find yourself caught between the two extremes of full transparency and complete control of your image (which, BTW, is only possible by avoiding all online interaction). You may know some Facebook and Twitter users who fit into that first category. They post updates about every hiccup,  paper cut, and causal encounter with photo and video documentation for good measure.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, argues that “you have one identity.” What he means is that internet-enabled transparency makes maintaining more than one identity difficult at best and impossible for most. So if you accept his premise that you really have only one identity, the next decision you’ll have to make is how to manage that one identity to ensure that your multi-faceted personality is both appropriately presented but not inappropriately exposed? Whose going to be in control of our digital identity, if not us?

Even if we are limited to one identity online, we have ways to manage that identity so that we can provide some separation between personal and professional roles. We all manage our presentation of self in “real life” based on contextual cues. For example, manners are simply the managing of our behavior and speech to reflect socially accepted norms for treating others with respect and dignity. Our language changes when we move from a close circle of friends to family to professional contacts. We’re constantly adjusting how we present ourselves depending on the social situation, and people who are unable or unwilling to do this are seen as rude, ill-mannered or socially inept. In a similar way, your profile on Facebook may have a very different tone from the one that you keep on LinkedIn. However, the problem here is that public access to both profiles may be possible depending on your privacy settings. An acquaintance may make the transition from friend to professional colleague, or in the other direction, and thus have ready access to both profiles. This may or may not present a problem…my point is simply that managing distinct identities becomes cumbersome or impossible.

Add to that new services or updates that constantly change the ground rules. Facebook has had a string of problems with privacy protection. The launch of News Feed in 2006, Beacon in 2007 and privacy setting changes in 2009 are just some of the examples of Facebook policies that led to user rebellion. Facebook’s own privacy policy makes it clear that personal data “may become publicly available” and may be “viewed by unauthorized persons.” According to David Kirkpatrick, writing in The Facebook Effect, a poll of US companies found that 35% of them had rejected applicants because of information found on social networks. This was not information hacked from the sites, but rather personal information that the applicant had posted without consideration of who might be in the online audience. Facebook itself admits that only about 25% of users actively use the privacy controls.

Walking the fine line that is personal privacy, many make the mistake that they can control their digital footprint. As your digital footprint grows, and as computers “scrape” your online behavior and link it to other databases, managing your exposure becomes increasingly complex. Simply remembering all of the intricacies and complexities of your multiple profiles becomes unmanageable. And if you employ deception, the task is even more difficult. You’ve heard it said lies beget lies. In other words, we often have to tell a lie to cover up another lie, and the web of deception becomes increasingly complex and difficult to maintain. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.”

So it is with your digital footprint. The more data you surrender willingly, and unwillingly, to marketers and social media, the more more vulnerable you become to their schemes. Do you trust Google, Facebook and Yahoo! to protect your interests? And if not, what steps are you taking to ensure that your identity is safe?

For more information about online privacy visit the EPIC: Electronic Privacy Information Center website.

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27 Responses to “Radical Transparency in the Internet Age”

  1. Renata said

    Great article – goes straight to the heart of the issue! I am a leader in an independent school in Melbourne and would love to share this with our community – students, teachers and parents on our website http://www.iCyberSafe.com

    Would you be happy for me to do so?

    Kind Regards, Renata

  2. Kristin Moe said

    At times I believe Google, Facebook, Twitter ect. is thinking about our privacy; however I also believe that they are not. The individual that makes these accounts can decide how much or how little they would like to share about themselves. I also believe that some individuals do not realize exactly how much information they are giving out on the internet. Some individuals may believe that when they put where they work, where they go to school and the location they live in is not very relevant. What they may not realize is that ANYONE in the world can see all the information they have just given out. Every website that you have to put personal information into gives you the privacy options, and I believe every individual should take advantage of these settings. Overall I think if individuals take advantage of the privacy settings then Google, Facebook, Twitter, ect. can be good, however if individuals do not take advantage of these settings, Google, Facebook, Twitter, ect. could be bad or unsafe.

  3. sebersole said

    Thanks Renata…you are very welcome to link to or use the post as you see fit.
    All the best-
    Sam

  4. Jen said

    I love the timing of this. Right after I double-checked my FB privacy settings I read this post. One method I take to provide a small sense of security is checking my settings every few months. Normally, they are set to where only friends can see status updates, birthdays, etc..However, I do this routinely because I want to ensure that there haven’t been any “updates” made by FB. I am highly skeptical of Google, Yahoo, Facebook, etc. protecting my privacy. I also don’t believe Zuckerberg’s opinion of having “one” identity. I think both online and off we all maintain two identities. We have our professional image that presents the best at work and school, and then we have our lighter personality that we share with our family and friends. However, I do consider deleting my FB account on a daily basis for lack of confidence in their settings. I generally don’t update my page often, but when I do I always keep in mind what potential employers might see. Things I see as funny or amusing may not be conveyed with the right tone online to those that don’t understand my sense of humor.

    On a side note, I read an article by the LA Times a few weeks ago that mentioned we not only have to worry what present or potential employers may see, but now insurance companies are using them to view profiles of clients and those receiving benefits. One woman’s benefits were revoked without warning because of photos posted on her profile. Here’s the link to that article: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/25/business/la-fi-facebook-evidence-20110125 . Hope it works!

  5. Ronnie said

    I wonder if people consider that FB, MS and Twitter are simply data farms, and their subscribers are livestock. Whether you use “security” settings or not, FB reserves the right to track and collect particular information about YOU that is unquestionably used in market profiling. Certainly this data is used to compile what people may or may not consider as personal data to then sell to anyone willing to pay for the info.

    It took me a while to conclude that using social media is merely an exercise in superficiality, with no meaningful connection to friends or family being genuinely possible. Interestingly, when I tried to cancel my account, it surprised me to learn that with FB you CAN NEVER completely delete all traces of your profile — you can only deactivate it. You’ll have to try and delete any photos and any other types of interactivity in order to give yourself the delusion that FB keeps no data pertaining to your person; however, FB most certainly retains basic personal info about you. Most people don’t read the user contract when starting accounts with popular social media sites. Had I done so, and really learned how limited my rights for using the site were, I never would have agreed to the terms. Shucks!

    Today on CNN it was announced that FB is filing suit against an internet dating site for using facial recognition software to copy profile photos from FB to use on the dating site. So while FB is partly legally required to offer a menial level of privacy, they clearly cannot guarantee it. Even still, it finally dawned me how stupid it is to publish things about myself online, be it personal insights on any given topic, or my daily mundane activities, where that seemingly useless information can be stolen and used for purposes beyond my control. My questions for the 500 million-plus daily grazers found in the social media pastures are: How willing are you to have your personal ideas stolen or used against you, and how loudly can you moo?

  6. It’s always a struggle figuring out who we are and to me it seems like social networking has added a new, ten fold facet to that ever-growing process.

    Behind the curtains we’re all just people…insecure, silly, maybe jealous, perhaps a little self centered and/or self-righteous and that I think plays a good deal into how we express ourselves online…

    In class the other day Dr. Ebersole referenced “anonymity” and how it makes a tame person in public a lil’ edgier on the net. I thought this was true, but I also think that web-behavior is just a magnification of broader social behavior amongst humans at large. We all switch up, if you will, how we act for certain occasions, settings and environments. Some do it for more pressing reasons than others, but most do in fact do it I’d wager….you have to…I can’t bring the block into work and discuss things I would with my peers with my supervisor. America’s pecking order just doesn’t work like that.

    When it comes to security on the web we’re entering a new and very brave world aren’t we? I mean, people in past decades didn’t have to worry about possibly not landing that new gig because of an advanced network of computers that store information about everyone. Nope, not at all…back then you could just print up a gassed resume and deceive the boss with an overly ambitious, ass-kissing interview and land that corner office the good old fashioned way.

    For all of our advancements technologically, we’re still humans…still flawed and still at the end of the day seeking out acceptance, love and affirmation. We troll the net un-caring of the ramifications of the info we put up, or words we post (hence this diatribe) and just continue onward….it’s like the free love era, except it’s not the ’60s and ’70s and instead of “love” all we spread are innocuous factoids about ourselves, hastily snapped photos and stolen music.

    Once again I worry about our [my generation’s] ethos and just where we’ll end up…we seem to be flying by the seats of our pants, learning as we go and being handed great technological responsibilities.

  7. Molly Gearhart said

    I don’t trust any of those websites as far as I could through them? I don’t know if that came out right, but you get the gist. As far as what I do to protect my identity, I utilize all of the privacy settings that facebook has to offer, and try not to post anything that “could be used against me in the court of law”. I do write some pretty spicy stuff in my email although. That kind of makes me worry, a little. I guess it won’t that be that big of a deal til I come face to face with a privacy issue, personally. I can’t wait.

  8. Andrew Sanchez said

    Nope, it didn’t come out right, but let’s see if we can sift through the inanity and find something useful to explore.

    As Dr. E. alluded, it’s entirely impossible to keep one’s online activities wholly private. Every site one visits is documented and stored within servers via tracking cookies and the recording of one’s IP address. While, your actual name, age and sex might not be directly known, anyone interested can certainly find out from where your internet access originates and the ISP which owns your account. It’s really only a matter of what methods an interested party is willing to use to learn about you. It’s wildly stupid to think that huge data farms (acre upon acre of servers) used for extensive profiling of internet consumer behavior do not exist. Sounds like something out of the Matrix, really.

    Also consider that as long as folks in this country have had to register for a library card there have been subtle and backhanded efforts to track what information people chose to access. Of course, records of the books and other material people “checked out” were held confidentially by librarians and kept from the general public; nevertheless, this didn’t deter government agencies from greasing palms to attain such records. It was at one point illegal for the government to pry in to one’s personal reading habits and to monitor correspondence, but thwarting these civil liberties was made much easier and legal over time, especially with the enactment of the U.S Patriot act.

    It’s not hard to imagine that your “identity” as expressed through usage of the internet, compiled and refined over time, won’t be used to profile your character, then used on you for direct marketing purposes, or still worse, to convict you in the “court of public opinion” and possibly a court of law. In fact it’s already happening.

    Think your email is private — guess again. Key words can raise flags which might cause online correspondence to be filtered/monitored either by the company one works for and most certainly by an interested government entity. Does this sound conspiratorial? Well, I guess it depends on one’s perspective. Are you in the camp that believes it’s acceptable to use any means necessary to ensure security? If so, who’s security takes first precedent: Yours, your employer’s, Big Brother’s, or the Homeland? There are slippery slope arguments for each, but they’re all worth consideration. Questions like these are inseparable from questions regarding how a society defines notions of individual liberty, freedom, security(national and personal), and democracy.

  9. Jose Cos said

    Facebook, myspace, and twitter are all social networking sites that allow you to submit information to people you have a common interest with. privacy settings are becoming more and more strict. Why? In my opinion its the users duty to protect themselves online. If they choose to post information that could possibly lead them to trouble than that should be there fault not the privacy settings. These websites give a lot of people the feeling that nothing can happen to them, so they post whatever they want, upload any type of pictures they want, and say whatever they want with no regrets. Even with privacy settings there is still tons of ways some one can view your profile regardless of the privacy settings. The best privacy setting you can have is your own, if your careful in what you put on these websites these privacy settings wouldn’t be as big of a deal, but the truth is you cant always predict the outcomes of what you do on these websites and privacy settings will begin allowing you to control more and more things to protect yourself and your best interest without you knowing.

  10. J.D. said

    I got to thinking about Zuckerberg’s opinion regarding “one identity.” The easy counter argument to Zuckerberg’s position is that is necessary to interact with professional colleagues and personal affiliates contextually. In other words, personal conduct must be measured against professional and personal aims of self-preservation. Divulging too much information might get you fired – or worse – shunned. Not sharing enough may have the same effect. But what a sad imposition of the double standard, both by those wishing to exclude counter views in order to preserve an illusion of sanctity, and by people coerced to “turn down the volume” on aspects of their unfavorable persona. This may not speak to a lack of integrity, but does it exemplify a willingness to be disingenuous? There’s certainly cause to selectively edit one’ public speech, especially when trying to tailor a message to a specific audience, but if one wishes to be principled and true to themselves, who gets to say where the line should be drawn?

    People are understandably concerned with how they are perceived both on–the-job and amidst their closer confidants. So, it’s seemingly obvious, though delusional, that matters of political opinion, social ideals as well as individual values –ranging from choice of religion to inborn sexual proclivity– should be tempered according to one’s surroundings. It makes sense to stifle oneself in order to “fit in” right? The conformist mindset would have us believe that our identities are like suits, to be worn and changed according to the ambiance.

    At times people provide glimpses into their unadorned world view, unfiltered by their conventional desire to satisfy others, and it’s easy to spot these qualities with practice. In fact, people will draw conclusions about others regardless of how imperceptible one believes their quirky behaviors to be. People who feel pressure to manage multiple identities are dedicated proletarians, folks whose place in society has been designed for them, not by them. They’re disciplined outwardly. They govern themselves according to conventional wisdom and misplaced authority and are incapable of original thought. This is a common state of mind, and the easy answer by which to refute Zuckerberg’s claim.

    Zuckerberg is certainly inartful when he proclaims that social mores are changing, but he’s not wrong. There is undeniable validity to his not-so-original observation.

    Human history is fraught with examples of social upheaval brought about from oppressive attempts to conceal or subvert individual conduct. Behaviors and ideas are part and parcel to social agendas. Often, fretful observers watch helplessly as threatening counter-cultural actions transition to social norm. Grand examples of social and political change include: Constantine’s conversion from Paganism to Christian Catholicism, and later, Martin Luther’s instigation of Protestantism. Each belief system originated as a sect or cult. It’s clear that fashionable personal conduct too coincides and changes along with broad political, even militaristic accomplishment. Socially abhorrent behavior frequently shifts toward acceptance in spite of convention, as we can point to the use of violence or trends of homosexuality within ancient cultures. Macedonian king conqueror, Alexander the Great, was perhaps homosexual, at the very least bisexual, and famously brutal. He viewed the use of severe violence and torture as a means to an end. He also viewed taking wives and thus baring of children a necessary element of cultural conquest. His soldiers were ordered to take wives from other cultures and reluctantly did so. Whether modern cultures view these facets of human history as right or wrong behavior matters little – it happened. Personal or professional conduct inseparably shapes social trends, no matter the meager attempts at concealment. No matter the uniform disfavor of particular political views or personal behaviors, these ideas exist, they disappear and resurface, and individuals cannot help but express them, openly or not, willfully or accidentally.

    But what’s being described by other posts, speaking to fears of political correctness, is a public relations concern for one’s public image. I’m reminded of a former college professor in his late forties, who I met during a training course for a job I once held. He was one of three other men I attended the course with, and all three of them were former military. This former college professor and soldier lived a “quietly” gay lifestyle and did his best to keep this part of his life separate from his professional engagements. He monitored his mannerisms and chose dialogue carefully, too carefully, in my view, as it drew more attention to the idea that something about his manner of speaking was disingenuous. I easily figured out why he hid the fact that he was gay from his military cohort in the class. He served before the repeal of Don’t ask, Don’t tell, and the other men in the class were devoutly religious conservatives. Later, I learned that after his military service, he took a job at a Christian university, hence the need to keep his private life still quiet. This man wasn’t in the closet per se: he lived with his male partner and spoke often of the children he fathered with his ex-wife while in the military. What a tortured existence this guy lived. I later concluded the reason why he hadn’t been able to maintain a career despite his talent and ability. He always chose to try and “fit in” to systems that would shun him were his true identity ever revealed. He couldn’t be entirely forthcoming about his life, and as a result he never formed genuine relationships with his colleagues. He was wildly energetic and charismatic, but dishonest. I figured him out when we all went to dinner after class. We were all drinking beer or wine, and after a few drinks his generally boisterous personality morphed into flamboyant splendor. He began taking pictures and acting a little goofy, something a superior at work might frown upon. He posted some of the harmless but silly pictures he took at dinner on Facebook then friended most everyone in the class. The pictures didn’t get him fired, but by the end of the course most of the trainees had decided to avoid him as much as possible. It pretty much spoiled the work environment for him before he officially started. I never saw the dude again, but I heard from one of the girls in class that his personality annoyed everybody at work. So did he demonstrate a lack of integrity, ingenuousness? Yes, but it’s easy to argue that he needed to in order to hold the positions he aspired to. It’s his own fault that he didn’t live a self-actualized life. He tried to be a cog in a wheel, a true proletarian, unoriginal and loyal to a system that discarded him at will. Lame.

  11. Brittny Balderston said

    Privacy is a cherished thing, and I take advantage of the privacy settings on my Facebook. If someone really absolutely cared about their privacy, they wouldn’t have a social networking account or even use search sites on personal computers. It’s our choice to share with the world what we want, and if people knew that better they wouldn’t be so butt hurt when their “secrets” are exposed.

  12. Dustin Booth said

    I personally have a facebook page, and use it frequently to talk to friends that live in different places all over the world. The idea that we have one identity makes sense to me, and I’m not ashamed or worried about anything that comes up on facebook, because it is my life & I’m sharing it with the people I wish. I understand that whatever I post and is posted related to me is potentially accessable to parties unknown to myself, and I find that the possible implications that so much personal data on people on a mass level worldwide is accessible and there to be potentially perused by corporations and governments disturbing. Permitting myself a bit of paranoia here, who is there to make sure this ‘private’ data is protected and not privy to some sort of Stasi-like sifting of data to root out people deemed to be ‘bad seeds’ or potential enemies of the state? As Americans we have long held the right to our privacy, and the assumption that our private lives are indeed private, unless of course you are being legitimatly investigated for something. The fact that my grandmother, who uses Facebook to make keeping in contact with her grandchilden easier, could have her personal information data-mined and have tabs kept on her if someone found her to be suspicious (she’s not by the way) scarily Orwellian. The internet has given people access to unlimited amounts of information, which is truly a good thing when used for education or pursuing one’s interests and hobbies, etc. It does seem to be a double-edged sword however, if extremely personal and private information is made available to parties who have no real business with this data other than to potentially exploit it.

  13. Dustin Booth said

    As a follow up to the above post, my paranoia level went down after my caffiene wore off a bit, and I read this article.

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/02/patriot-act-notextended/

    (sorry, not sure how to hyperlink the above)

  14. Chris said

    Rep. Christopher Lee recently was caught using social media (craigslist) to explore his extramarital potential. The family man, congressman and lobbyist posted a shirtless pic of himself in a women-seeking-men forum as a response to a female user’s complaint that most of the men she’d viewed on Craigslist were “toads.” There’s only a few conclusions to be drawn about Lee’s ultimate intentions, yet the potential of social media to expose character defects doesn’t get any clearer. This dude is married, wealthy, and a (now former) government representative no less. I wonder if he had difficulty “managing multiple identities,” or if he just accidentally exposed himself as a goon.

    I suppose its one thing want to minimize direct personal scrutiny for discussing controversial opinions and ideas online. Using social media may unfairly jeopardize one’s livelihood in this regard. However, people who fear using social media, acknowledging that they might be seen as crass, obnoxious or uncouth are subconsciously admitting to known character defects. Instead of working on these personal issues, the excuse becomes that an outsider might be too stupid to “get” one’s choice of language or understand shifty irony. This is the first cue that your dealing with someone narcissistic and fake. These people are the first to make superficial judgments about others, and they’re the first to realize the need to carefully calculate their own public image. They make terrific image consultants, and not least Washington lobbyists. Note: if you’ve never seen the film Thank You for Smoking, check it out, it’s very well written.

  15. Alyssa Fryberger said

    I got a facebook about 2 years ago and my mom was really worried about the privacy issues. I have all my privacy setting set on friends only and do not share contact information or post things that I would be embarrassed of if an employer saw them. I also only use profile pictures that do not have direct on face shots. I do not friend anyone I do not know in real life. I think that many people are to free with what they put on their facebooks and do not protect their privacy very well. The idea that we talked about in class about the government using facebook for information was a little disturbing to me but overall I did not think that it would have a lot of effect on me personally because I do not have that much information on it. I think that most people should be a lot more careful about the use of the internet especially social networking sights.

  16. Ken Sherer said

    In my opinion, these websites give out the proper privacy settings for users. The internet is a global, and by now I imagine every one should know that. If you’re worried about you’re digital identity, then don’t put anything that could ruin it online. Don’t put any personal information that even has a small chance of destroying your identity. The ultimate argument I am trying to get at is that I believe your digital identity can be controlled by your own fingers, you control what photos you put up, what you say online, and ultimately whether or not your identity is protected online.

  17. Angelica Harvey said

    I personally would not trust any of the sites listed above simply because anyone from anywhere can gain access to them. Granted there are privacy settings available but most times people don’t use them, let alone consider the audience that their information will reach. The internet has a certain anonymity and it is because of this that anyone can be or claim to be who they want. It’s unfortunate that many users of the internet fall victim to the traps and scams that go on on the internet. I say if you don’t want people to know your business or information, don’t put it out there in the first place. Whether or not the information is true or deceptive doesnt matter. People will only see what information you put out there. In addition to this,there is always potential for someone to hack or gain access to your information by other means. This is why users should carefully consider and be mindful of the information that is put out there because there is always a possiblity for it to be used and redistributed in a negative way.

  18. Mary Jane MCCM 101 said

    The first question I would have to ask myself is, who am I trying to hide my identity from? The next would be is there anyone out there who would search randomly and find me and then even bother to steal my identity? To me this doesn’t seem likely to happen. Although this is probably how a lot of people think and then that is where trouble starts. The point is that we still have to be smart and not abuse the internet. We have to handle our identities on the internet just as we would off the internet.

  19. Alex Miller said

    One identity should be required for things like facebook, myspace, and twitter to help keep the sites safe. People steal identities all the time and use the stolen information to gain a financial or social advantage for themselves. I think that since the internet is becoming a mass form of media communication, there should be restrictions to help prevent identity theft. I do also agree that internet identities can be seprate from “real world” personalities. Going online is kind of like getting away from the world.

  20. Amanda Norris MCCM 101 said

    I think this issue is fascinating really. I mean who knows exactly what the long term effects of this new form of social media will be? Will it be a huge deal with ground breaking consequnces or will it just be somthing else we panicked about for no reason? I guess only time will tell. However the short term effects are pretty visable. I think it’s important to keep your digital identity, for lack of better term, clean. Employers are going to look at your digital footprint and use that against you. I think it’s important to remeber that you shouldn’t do anything online that you wouldn’t do in public.

  21. Jareth Thomas said

    Internet safety can never truly be present for the simple fact that the internet is not an overall regulated system by any one entity. It is almost entirely free from any source of correction or restriction. Even if something is deleted, that only means it is somewhere else, not gone forever. Anyone who has a reason to look at you closely will find something that they question whether in person or online. The problem with the internet is you can’t take back what you say. If you’re online, try to stay respectful to yourself and everyone else. Live by the same rules that you live by in real life and then you won’t be surprised. If you can’t say that or do it in public, then don’t do it online. It’s your safest bet for sure.

  22. Shilay Willis said

    Internet safety. We all went through the classes in middle and high school. Most of us use what we learn too, well at least some of it. I use all of the privacy settings on Facebook, but i still have people that i dont like getting on their friend’s facebook to check my page. There is no way to keep what you say online really private, so when you say something think about if you would want your mom or your boss to hear you say that? if not then don’t write it. I don’t want people stalking me. I don’t know if there will be any long term affects from this.

  23. Kenny Norman said

    To begin with the question at hand, I indeed do trust Google or Facebook,etc. to protect my interests because information I search or things I post are subjects I’m okay with being public or shown.How I behave,what my personal beliefs are,and who I associate with whether online or in person are the same,and if not I’m more discreet on the internet.

    Additionally,It’s very true that everyone has “one identity” it’s just what you allow to come out in different scenario’s that determines the difference.Like you stated,people naturally change demeanor an language for many people in thier lives,but can only maintain such a demeanor for a limited time.As far as this demeanor online that’s inevitably public.People can witness what you post,what your interests are and how you look based on what YOU chose to add online.Privacy is defined by the individual not Facebook.I also agree that more and more people are obtaining a transparent view on what should be public and what should not,but just as much as it is Facebook to blame,it’s magazines,it’s TV that are more open of what was once deemed taboo.

  24. Mitch Uhland aka (Flash) aka (Barry Allen) said

    I was mostly blown away at the huge numbers thrown in by David Kirkpatrick. 35% of US applicants for jobs get rejected because a Facebook stuff they find! It’s pretty amazing when people put lots of information about themselves on the internet then, expect to not to be found out about. In my personal opinion I believe that the more people are on these sites, the harder it is to explain yourself. If you don’t want to get in trouble, don’t flirt with danger and if you like to flirt with danger, when you get caught don’t cry about it.

  25. Dustin Yourishin said

    This article can be a little bit scary; the amount of information that can be found out about you by complete strangers can be worrisome. But then again, we are the ones who put it there in the first place, so we have no one else to blame. I personally watch everything about my online identity. I’ve checked and re-checked my facebook security and I regularly look myself up with search engines to see if there is anything i need to remove. I know I can’t truly remove anything, but its better than nothing. On another note, I like the idea of splitting up social media. Facebook is trying to implement this with their new “Lists” but I think Google+ has already nailed with “Circles.” I believe Google+ will win the social media war eventually, but its going to take a long time.

  26. I’m not sure if anyone has happened to mention the movie CATFISH. It is a documentary about a man who falls in love with a woman over Facebook. One night I rented this movie, expecting a low tech horror and instead was on the end of my seat and eventually crying. The movie follows this same thought of “one identity” that Facebook allows its users to take advantage of or misuse it in a way that the lead character does so easily. I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone who might be interested in actually watching the movie but I will say that its message was as clear and scary as the article above. After watching I deleted people I didn’t know in person, changed my password and privacy settings. My father worked for a company that took care of peoples back up information on computers, it is scary to think of how often someone has access to all of your information because of the internet and websites you may “trust.” In the end it is being cautious and smart about every decision you make.

  27. jmclark1 said

    It’s rather scary how careless peopel are with their Facebook accounts and their privacy online. I think you really need to be careful with how much information people are giving out. It would be one thing for people to complain if their information was being taken from them unwillingly but so many just have it wide in the open for all to see. So I think some places online such as Google and Facebook do make attempts protect your privacy but a lot of people don’t take advantage of this. Granted it is hard to keep everything you do on the internet private but if you have the opportunity to keep some of this hidden from unwanted eyes, why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?

    It boils down to being smart with what you want people to see and just keeping your other private information off. Through the Internet there are plenty of ways they gather your information without you providing it so why provide more of your information that could fall into the wrong hands. But the Internet is just like the real world. We don’t all run around shouting our personal information so why should we be any different online? How your present yourself and your information should be pretty consistant both online and in the world.

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