Privacy is overrated
There’s been quite an uproar over alleged invasions of our social media privacy. Facebook’s plug-ins that default connect to our Yelp and Pandora accounts. Google Buzz making our “super secret” Google Chat contacts public. (Granted, this did suck for a few wayward spouses.)
Honestly, I think we need to get over it. Not in the sense that we stop putting pressure on these companies to be transparent about their policies – we shouldn’t make their paths to total world domination entirely frictionless. But as consumers, we need to accept that social networks will undoubtedly socialize our content in ways we can’t always anticipate or prevent.
Which leaves us social media addicts with two options. We can freak out, delete any Facebook photos that could be mistaken for Smirnoff ads, de-activate our Tumblrs and protect our already watered-down tweets. Or we can embrace this new world of openness and over-sharing for what it is.
I’m choosing this latter route (duh). This blog contains my thoughts on topics ranging from plastic surgery to dirty talking, and because logging in and out of @projectmadeline was far to arduous, I now tweet posts from my real Twitter handle (on the rare occasions I actually write something). My full name isn’t officially attached to this blog, but anyone who wanted to make the connection could. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay with that for the same reason that I’m okay with my parents seeing Facebook pictures of last week’s drag show outing in Philly (so fun!), or anyone with Internet access reading my 2000 tweets. Because I trust my audience.
I trust people – friends and strangers alike – to respect that I am an opinionated, silly person with quirky views that are not representative of my employer. I trust them to not be offended that photos on Facebook might show me with a glass of wine in hand, or that I occasionally trash talk on Twitter. And if people really don’t like these digital glimpses of me…well, they probably wouldn’t enjoy chatting with me at a cocktail party either.
This trust goes both ways, and it takes some practice. I’m just now starting to warm to foursquare as my friends join en masse and it becomes somewhat useful…as opposed to my solitary feed looking suspiciously like my bank statement without the $$ amount. And it took me awhile to get used to an overly social media-friendly couple posting TMI photos and statuses on Facebook. But they’re hilarious, so now I’m more than happy to be a virtual third wheel.
Granted, some social media contributions will be annoying (like tweeting every single foursquare check-in, ugh!), but we’ll fast learn to tune them out as white noise. And in my opinion, they’re a small price to pay for all the offbeat, fascinating insights we’ll get from people we wouldn’t otherwise have access to. People who aren’t so worried about privacy and image that they self-censor all the juicy parts of their lives.
What are we left with? A little more awkwardness, and the occasional over-crossing of the line, but also people who are less wooden and more human. People who have a voice and aren’t afraid to use it.
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