In my last blog, I said we are in “The Age of Transparent Networking” due to the degree to which Social Networking sites have become a part of our world. I talked about how important research is when deciding if you should become active in social networking sites. Now, I will address the concept of privacy.
The good news of this age of transparency is the relative ease with which you can connect to people. You can increase your network exponentially, in record time! The downside of transparency is exactly that–it is transparent! Given that networking is all about trust and relationships, keep in mind that anything you say online about yourself or others is not only subject to exposure where you did not plan for it, but it will be—according to forensics and e-Discovery people I know–probably there “forever”.
People often counter my comments about transparency by saying, “I don’t worry because I have set my account with LinkedIn/Facebook/MySpace on a privacy “invitation only” setting. Only people I choose to let in can see what is being said and what photos are posted. However, when I bring this up with staff members and power users of social networking sites, they always concur with my comments above–there is ultimately no privacy. Here’s an example:
You are part of a group in Facebook. You and a member have a conflict. That person could take something you have said or copy a picture meant for your network only and post it elsewhere. In the past, you may have had more control over what went where. Now, in the blink of a conflict, there you are–exposed! Things you set up for your private network only are available for those outside your groups to see.
Remember, everything is potentially visible and there is not necessarily a shelf life. As with anything in life, be discerning and use your judgment! What you don’t say and do might just save your reputation online!