New Media Blog Post 7: Privacy is More than a Social Norm, It’s a Necessity

Mark Zuckerburg recently said that, “Privacy is no longer a social norm”, although I do agree that more and more private information is being shared publically online.  However, some people still want to stay private online and not let the world see every detail about them. Information is easier than ever to find online, you can search a person on Facebook or even by doing a simple Google search before meeting, and find things out about them before meeting them in person. You can’t do that with everyone of course, because some people don’t have an online presence or they have one but don’t share their information publicly.


Personally, I do post a fair amount of information publically through my blog and Twitter. However, there are still a lot of things, especially on Facebook , that I keep private so only friends and family can see it.  I do post a lot of photos on Flickr and many are public but, any pictures that are personal, I keep private. The problem with Facebook is that they change the site so often, and each time they change the site, the privacy settings seem to get messed up even when the update has nothing to do with privacy.  It is because of this, I check my privacy settings regularly, and especially after Facebook makes a change just to be safe, because unlike my Twitter, which is totally public, my Facebook is mostly private.


Google Plus, which is one of the newest social networks, has what I think is the best system of privacy controls.  With Google Plus, you put friends into “Circles” such as Family, Co-Workers, etc., and then as you post content, you can choose which circles you want to share each with, or if you want to share publicly.  These granular controls allow you to select which groups of people get to see what content. Facebook, has since duplicated some of these settings but, not quite as effectively.


Although more content is being shared each day online, many people, myself included, don’t want to live totally publically, and would like to keep some information private.  Although Mr. Zuckerberg may think privacy is no longer a social norm, possibly because it would greatly benefit him and his business, people still want some privacy. Privacy controls will become even more important for anyone posting information online. Knowledge of effectively using these privacy controls will become more and more important as more information is posted online. This means that everyone, should know how to utilize the privacy settings to the fullest to make sure they aren’t over sharing personal information and regret it later.

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