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Social Media Platforms: When Working to Guard Privacy Trumps Fun

February 21, 2013

Okay, so a very large social networking site rolled out yet another set of “fine print” for the unwashed masses to blissfully assimilate or pound sand . . . and I think that may have just been the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back — at least for this Mama!

When working to guard your privacy becomes a full time job, and sharing tidbits of your life with people you want to connect with becomes secondary, I think that’s a classic textbook case of the word “disconnect.”

I have a lot of reasons for guarding my privacy (so do you). I won’t go into all of them here, but if you are like me, you sign up for these platforms because it is a convenient way to stay in touch with the grandparents, or connect with friends from years ago, etc. When you sign on, yeah, there are certain rules, rights, responsibilities you understand are inherent in this new “relationship.” In the real world, what would that look like when one person, every few months, adds/changes/renegotiates things that directly effect you . . . and you have no say in the matter? You weren’t consulted and now you have a choice: stay in the relationship or leave.

If you stay, there is a subtle (or not so subtle!) shift in “power” because you’ve “lumped it” to stay in this relationship. And the other party knows it, so it can lead to a slippery slope where this becomes standard protocol.

If you leave, all the time, work, etc. you’ve invested goes down the drain for the most part. And you have to divvy things up: what belongs to you, what belongs to them? And you have to start over. Who’s to say the same thing won’t happen time and time and time again?

I don’t know if I am going to stay with this social network much longer. Even if I leave, I don’t have a lot of faith that my information isn’t still floating around . . . begging the question: so what’s the point? Is it just inevitable? Hound your friends to do all the hard work so your stuff stays private? Do you invest more hours “purging” before you leave?

Given that my day job is in Social Media, I understand how beneficial it is. But when I have to work to stay ahead of the curve (and I know this industry . . . can you imagine for the lay person??), then it seems to me that profiting from me is a larger goal than providing me with a way to connect conveniently, and I have to decide to what lengths I will go to protect it . . . and in essence attach a value to my own brand.


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