For decades our parents and in not too distant past we complained about governments trying to control every aspect of our lives and dare I say spy on us. And now we put that information out there for everyone (including those ‘big bad’ governments) to see – what in the world are we doing to ourselves? Even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg famously called Facebook users (us!) fools for sharing all of our personal information with him that he will use for targeted ads – basically, he makes tones of money by sharing our volunteered information with other government and corporations.
An ex US government employee, a whistleblower Edward Snowden (also referred to as a hero, traitor, coward or patriot depending who you ask) even revealed government’s secret surveillance program PRISM confirming lack of privacy on the internet. So it is fair to say that everything we do on the internet is monitored – the worse thing is that even people who don’t have social networking accounts like Facebook, Twitter or Google+ can’t be fully private. You only have to be tagged by your friend in the Facebook photo and ‘you are on the internet’.
So, assuming that one believes in these not so secret programs any more – why do we continue to post personal information all over internet and love it – we can’t get enough of it in fact. There are many answers to that questions such as need for instant gratification and fame, vanity, boredom, lack of having ‘real life’ and others that describe us humans as not so comfortable and happy species.
Well, I don’t consider myself any of the above, so why am I an active part of the ongoing social networking revolution. Part of the answer lays in the fact that I believe that this revolution is part of evolution. We used to get our gossip and latest news or whatever you call it, from people in person – well, we still do but much less then before. We live much faster lives and try to cram more and more in 24 hours because we are evolving into more complex creatures.
Before I go too deep and meaningful with you here, here are much more simple and practical reasons why I am using and will continue to use my social networking accounts:
- The first one is simple – keeps me in touch with my past and present colleagues, friends and family locally and abroad. I see what they’re up to, their kids, families, my cousins, you know what I mean. And the great thing is if you are FB friend with someone who is just too chatty and spammy (let’s face it, I don’t want to continually be updated about some obnoxious or smelly person on the bus clogging my news feed) – you can simply unsubscribe from them and keep friends
- I subscribe to many blogs and enlightening people that I’m interested in hearing from when they have something to say – you subscribe to their Facebook page or follow people on Twitter for example. This saves me from hitting a particular website just to check if there’s something new there.
- I can share my own insights hoping to bring value to my social network and also post photos, videos or updates that will take care of my friends and family be updated on my recent holiday adventures for example (‘unsubscribe’ button works both ways and someone unsubscribing from your feed can not be taken personally).
- I can see what my friends and friends of friends think of a restaurant or a movie for example – adds the whole new meaning to the concept of word-of-mouth.
Now, having said all this, there are ways to post status updates, location, photos and other content and yet remain very much under the radar and away from praying eyes of scammers or secret government organisations (if you believe in that) so keep an eye out on my next post as to how to protect your privacy while ‘spreading’ your information online.