Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Personal Information Disclosure

Most people are well aware of the undesirable consequences that making their personal lives public can bring, nevertheless they keep doing it. Why does this happen? Here are some possible reasons for it:
  • To stay close with friends and family members who live far away: Social networking permits folks to stay in contact with relatives who live in different cities. College students, sibling in different states and countries and family members who are only on vacation for a few weeks can all find value in being an affiliate of different social media portals. They can stay in touch more often than they usually would without the simplicity of being connected in an internet network.
  • To help construct their own narratives: Narratives are an often ignored aspect of psychology , though they are essential for us and are fundamental for providing us with a framework in which we can reconstruct our memories and think about the future. Narratives of the life stories we tell ourselves help to make sense of our lives.
  • Because they feel the need for more human contact: Social networking sites actually appears to reduce loneliness and improve well-being, as was reported as long ago as 2002 in the Journal of Social Issues, People who have difficulties with conventional socializing, such as those with Asperger's syndrome, experience great benefits.
  • To connect with people who have similar interests: Facebook created it's "Community Pages" for people to connect more easily with others on the social network who share similar interests. It will serve as an alternative to the official Facebook Pages for businesses, organizations and public figures. The aim is to let people create unofficial pages around topics, themes or ideas that don't fit easily in narrowly tailored Facebook Groups.
  • To achieve fame: There's little doubt that the Internet supports new kinds of publicity, enabling average people to develop audiences and speak broadly while also giving those who know how to build an audience new tools in which to do so. This is part of what makes Twitter such a fascinating phenomenon. And Twitter has become a space for celebrities, micro-celebrities, wanna-be-celebrities, and all of their fans.
  • To form part of a community where they feel respected and appreciated: In social media we can recognize how highly respected bloggers receive respect from others. In parallel to honor cultures, where public reputation is more important than one’s self esteem, bloggers achieve huge respect within their community.
  • To maintain relationships with people they meet offline: Social networking sites are a poor alternative to real-world socializing, but they can help people stay in touch.
  • Build on self-confidence: this can be attained through interacting with tweeps who continuously praise your tweets, personality,knowledge and/or looks.
  • To transmit personal experiences that they feel can be valuable for others.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Public lives

Human beings have a natural tendency to protect their privacy. It's in our essence to allow only certain people to see who we really are, what we really do, what we really think, and how we really feel. Nowadays Social Networks make us feel more comfortable sharing more information openly and with more people making people's lives less private.

Twitter can feed the narcissistic tendencies of human beings. A large amount of people believe others are interested in the everyday minutia of their lives. Judging by Twitter's initial success and unparalleled growth, it appears to have fulfilled a need for self-expression far beyond what other technologies allow. This incessant broadcasting of people's lives, however, comes with its own set of dangers beyond its pernicious effect of inflating our egos.
  • When you make private information public it is easier for others to spot your weaknesses and figure out ways to harm or take advantage of you.
  • It is not uncommon to receive inaccurate feedback from others, which can lead to misunderstandings and/or misinformation.
  • The information you publish can be taken out of context, making you an easy target for defamation.
  • People do not fully understand the extent of the impact information disclosure can provoke. Twitter is less than five years old. This is a brand new medium, and we are just now beginning to recognize its potential consequences.
Every one must think hard before they make any data public. Realize that the information, once released, will live forever on the Web. The consideration must always be whether or not it can ever come back to haunt you resulting in any kind of damage (to your reputation, relationships, businesses, job, etc.). It is easy to avoid bad results from happening just by thinking before acting.