Online Privacy, Responsibility, and Etiquette.

The idea of privacy in an online sense is something that seems almost non-existent.  Even if you think something is private, it really isn’t.  You never know if you can trust your friends or the website and even if you take precautions, it’s always easy to find more info with just a few small details.  One of the biggest issues in recent years seems to be photos on Facebook, usually of people out partying and drinking.  No one really thinks of it when you’re there, but the next day it’s likely a rather compromising photo of you with a drink in your hand or something that is slightly revealing will be uploaded and tagged with you in it.  Cue the panic from those who have their family, colleagues, professors, or boss as friends, and it’s a rush to untag yourself or ask your “friend” to take the photo down.

While browsing through articles relating to privacy issues online, I found one dated back in 2009 (“Party On, but No Tweets” Allen Salkin – August 7th, 2009) discussing parties where attendees were asked not to blog, post photos to Facebook, or Twitter about it.  I was amused at the line “friends can feel like the new paparazzi,” but it is sort of true.  Unless there are boundaries set up prior to the event, friends and other random attendees can snap photos of anyone they want and upload them to the web in an incredibly short span of time.  Some clubs have even made their patrons sign agreements and make an effort to ask people to take down photos if they find them online.

This concept is interesting as it places a significant amount of responsibility not just on the users and attendees themselves, but on the people holding the event.  It filters into the issues of online etiquette, which is still something people are learning about.  Is it really someone’s fault if their photos get uploaded and tagged without their permission?  You can always ask, but it’s never guaranteed that they’ll listen, and you might not even notice the fact that you’re in the background until someone points it out.  While understanding and being cautious about the information one shares online, it is simply not possible for people to watch themselves all the time.  The paranoia level rises and the event would be stressful instead of relaxing.

As technology continues to advance and more people put their life on display, it will be interesting to see where the topic of privacy goes.  A lot of people are just ignorant and lazy, so we can’t just expect people to know that they have to watch out for themselves.  The entire thing has the potential to make something small and entertaining into a terribly negative and embarrassing moment that you would have more control over in real life.  It will be interesting to see how it progresses as it requires more respect for an individual’s privacy instead of solely focusing on one’s own views of social media.  Not only do people need to become more knowledgeable in regards to privacy online, but they need to learn how to take others into consideration and respect their desires instead of taking them for granted and assuming their ideas match yours.

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About Madeline H

I'm an MLA student at LHU. I have a BA in International Studies and enjoy traveling, learning about cultures and languages, and entertainment.