Thinking about the new meaning of online “privacy”

It’s a snow day, which means I “get” to play on the computer more than work since it is a Monday and all. I have had the new interface for Facebook for a little while now. I like it. Cleaner, easier to use and things make sense up at the top rather than the bottom of the page.

But, the changes have got me thinking about other changes in Facebook from December as well as other social sights as well as with my own thinking about privacy. Facebook basically appeared to do a 180 degree turn in their thinking. What used to be a very closed network that only allowed first folks from one school ever increasingly morphed into a site that only those with a “dot edu” email address and then full tilt when into encouraging well, the entire universe to join. The founder of Facebook basically has said that “privacy is over“.

I hope he is wrong.

I am not thrilled with 100% open with no privacy. I want to have control over what I want to share. And, if you give me enough time I usually get comfortable with it. I started out on Twitter and protected my tweets. Eventually I decided to open it up to all to see. While many social network types seem to think that if you don’t open your tweets you are not “worthy” to follow. I have also read some pretty good reasons on why someone would not want to open up their tweets.

It’s all good.

Different streaks for different freaks, I always say.

The point is, on Twitter you have that control. So far on Facebook, you do have some control But, the controls are much more granular and much more, shall we say, complicated. On something like Twitter, the binary of YES or NO is pretty easy. Facebook becomes shades of gray very quickly: “Let’s see, I want my family to see that I am a fan of HGTV but I don’t want my co-workers to see what 80s hair band best fits my name”. Hmmmmm?”

But, if the privacy controls are too hard to use, way too open upon creation of an account and more opt-in for increased privacy rather than opt-out for increased openness, then I am thinking that will become a “count me out” opt-in for this girl.

It might be all about control and my friends and family will be the first to tell you that I certainly enjoy things my way. But, in the case of privacy, that should be the case all of the time. Privacy should be MY way on any site.

So, check your Facebook settings. Organize friends into groups and apply settings for each group. Take yourself out of search if that is what you want.

Need more help? I like this guide as a starting point and this one does a good job of helping you think through the options as well.

Image: ‘Privacy is not a crime