My Private Space on the Internet
October 10, 2012
It’s election season in a Presidential Election Year. That means that if you’re on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Reddit you’ve seen a lot of this:
You like that? How I found two Willy Wonka themed political memes? One for each side? Fair and equal, people!
I could actually find these all day. Green Party, Ron Paul, whatever. Google Images, it’s amazing.
Anyway, that’s not really the point. The point is, that during every election cycle, and especially during a presidential cycle, I’m reminded of the fact that many of us are absolutely ridiculous about our “my private space on the internet” expectations.
It’s my opinion that if you post something political/inflammatory/derogatory/obscene on your Facebook/Twitter/Reddit/linkedIn/Social Media of Choice, you are effectively saying that you wanna fight. I know this, because I’ve done it. A Lot. I’m in a 12 step program for political Facebook posts, in fact. Anyway…back to the generalizations about wanting to fight. Remember the Grouchy Ladybug?
So much truth in children’s literature.
What worries me is that as people get into these heated conversations, someone inevitably throws out a “This is my private space on Facebook and I can say whatever I want to here!”
True, free speech is awesome. However, Facebook is not “private”, even if you have it set to “Stealth Ninja” mode. Twitter is not a bulletproof wall you can hide behind, nor are the pictures you post on your blog ever really gone, even if you delete them. I know this sounds like the distrustful rant of an octogenarian, but I promise that I’m still in my 20s. For a few more months.
It worries me that we have people my age, and even people older that adhere to the idea that “This is my Facebook Page and it’s private” because we’re passing that ideology down. Facebook is a social forum, just like the other “social” media networks, which, by definition, are not private because they’re intended to be shared and connect people.
It’s not just political rants, either. I have cousins entering college and posting pictures of themselves that they’re not going to want a future employer to see, and they claim they’re safe because their accounts are set to private. However, all I have to do is right click and I can download a picture, write something funny on it and re-post it somewhere else. Let’s ask this poor guy how that turned out for him:
So, like most things on my mind, this whole “there’s no privacy anymore” turned to my children. I have an odd relationship with social media, because as there are more of “you” that read my posts and are part of the PwcMoms community on Facebook, there are less people I allow on my private Facebook page. I am now literally one of those losers that has less than 100 Facebook friends. 86, in fact. If I ever edited my posts and used proper formatting, I have few enough Facebook friends to write it out in letters because it’s so few. Eighty-six.
That might seem hypocritical, but to be honest, I don’t share much on my PwcMoms Facebook page. I don’t share my bad days, I don’t tell you much about my kids besides what they liked or didn’t like in a review, and most of the time when I post that we’re going to a particular location or place, we either went there the day before, or we’re actually leaving when I post it. Not because I make a habit of lying to you guys, but as a safety practice for my kids.
What this really made me wonder about is what the future looks like for our children. Are they going to have any concept of a filter? Any concept of privacy? Are we robbing them of privacy with every bathtub picture post and every blog about their toilet training issues? My kids now measure their achievements based on whether or not I’m going to “put it on the book”, and I just wonder if I’ve totally messed up their concept of privacy for the rest of their lives. Will we have anyone that can RUN for president in the future, or will all the children of this generation have ruined their chances Krystal Ball photo-scandal style
How do you balance social media with privacy, especially where your children are involved? Where are the lines, if there are any?