Friday, January 13, 2012

Privacy is Down; Get Over It, Will You!

If I had one social networking advice to give for 2012, this is it: privacy is down; get over it, will you!

The most common complaint or reason people mention to me about their hesitation in joining the social network world is lack of privacy.  In these people’s minds there is a clear privacy hole in this technology.  Some don’t want to share information about their lives or pictures.  Some are concerned about what people can do by stalking their profile.

What I can tell this people is: act according to your beliefs, but as interesting as your life may seem to you I can guarantee that 99.999999% of the world’s population is completely uninterested in it.  Your life is very likely less interesting to other people than you give it credit for.  And there will be hundreds of thousands of others who will make all they can to show everything, and I mean everything, to the social world audience, which makes it even less plausible people would be interested in our “boring” lives.

Even if someone end up looking at your profile, the behavior in the web shows they will move to the next one in a matter of seconds and will never remember you anyway.  And if you are concerned about serious stalkers or identity theft, it’s known that the vast majority of the offenders are people physically close to us, so you should be concerned about the real world not the virtual one.

The exception is children.  They really need to be protected because they can fall prey because they don’t have the maturity to deal with some sick people out there.  Even though, once again, the majority of the problems will unfortunately happen with people close to them and who they trust (also read The Strange Faces of Crime).

There are some reasons why the concept of privacy is changing so dramatically.  The people who created Facebook were teenagers when they did it.  They didn’t want privacy!  They wanted to be found!  Surprisingly the very nature of Facebook and social networks in general is to connect with people, to show off, to engage.  Not to hide!

The other reason is that there are few countries in the world where individual rights are really enforced.  So most of the world’s population was never used to have privacy anyway in the first place.
If you put these groups together you are going to get to the conclusion very few people really care about privacy after all.  Take a look at the half billion+ people putting information in Facebook.

So, trust me: if you are not a celebrity or politician, unless you post your social security number, salary, bank account and password in the social world, you will be safe.  And if you don’t believe me, try to became famous in the social world and let me know what did you have to do to make it happen.  I can guarantee posting about your life will not make it.

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