Every time I sign up for a new social media site the first thing I think about, before what my first post will be, is the privacy settings. In a century where everything is very public, the question about how much is too much to share becomes a constant question. Where should one draw the line?
As a twenty-year old college student, I am using social media for personal reasons. I began using social media back in 2005 when MySpace became widely popular. And since then I have joined the world of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Each one I use for a different purpose, and therefore each one I look at differently in terms of privacy.
Facebook and Instagram I keep my settings as private as possible because I am sharing the most about myself, and who I am. Even my friends on my Facebook have limits as to what they can and can’t look at within my page. The reason I chose to keep my identity so under wraps is because I don’t want information about myself to be known by strangers and sometimes even Facebook friends. Facebook is a way to glimpse into someone’s personal life, and people take advantage of this idea with friendly “stalking.” I feel like we have all been there. I am guilty of doing this. We look through a friend’s pictures, or interactions with another, and we come out knowing just a little bit more information about a person than we should. The truth is though, the person put it up on Facebook to share. Therefore, I see publicity on Facebook as a wanting to be looked at by anyone who is allowed.
On my Twitter and Tumblr page, I leave my settings public because my identity, especially on Tumblr, is not as exposed. On Twitter, I do have a picture of myself and use my actual name, however, my 140 characters or less posts don’t share extremely personal information. On Tumblr, my whole identity is concealed. I post pictures of fashion and street style. Therefore anyone I am comfortable with anyone accessing that material.
In his book, “Public Parts,” Jeff Jarvis shares how publicity is beneficial, especially today because of the opportunities it offers. It links and connects people together, allows for one to speak openly, and share information around the world. Jarvis makes great points regarding how publicity allows for one’s identity to shine. Jarvis used a great example of Andy Carvin, who uses Twitter as a platform to make his followers aware of world issues minute by minute. However, what his comparison lacked regarding the privacy versus publicity debate is what are the benefits of completing sharing one’s personal identity.
On October 16th, The Los Angeles Times published an article about Facebook’s new policy loosening privacy for kids ages 13 to 17. Before there were restrictions placed, which kept them from sharing information, such as posts and photos, with people they did not know. However, this policy is now taken away. Facebook stated, “Teens want to be heard.” Facebook have taken an approach and view similar to Jeff Jarvis. Everyone should be able to have a voice; speak and share openly. Again, the question about where should the line be drawn can be brought up.
Though people do use social media sites for different reasons, personal use accounts for a lot of users. It is important I feel that there is thought and debate put in to what should be and is the limit.