Thursday, July 15, 2010

Big Brother Watching Through Social Media Eyes

I don't know about you, but when I think of social media carelessness, my thoughts lean to immature teens or carefree college students who don't yet know the importance of protecting privacy, especially on the internet. Mary Madden and Aaron Smith of Pew Internet and American Life Project authored a great piece title, Reputation Management and Social Media, that makes us rethink this subject.

According to the report:
  • 44% of young adult Internet users say they take steps to limit the amount of information available about them, compared to 33% of users ages 30 to 49 and 25% of those ages 50 to 64.
  • 71% of younger social networking site users actively change their privacy settings to limit what they share with others online, compared to 55% of those 50 to 64.
  • 41% have removed their names from photos of them posted by others, compared to just 18% of those 50 to 64.

"The prevailing notion of young adults is that they have a radically different perception of privacy, one that is very free," says Mary Madden, the report's lead author. "But this data shows they are every bit as concerned with privacy and are more engaged in monitoring their information than older users."

I find this wildly ironic since the majority of questions, concerns, and panic about 'Big Brother Watching' is from the 45-75 demographic. The solution is simple. Big Brother has nothing to watch if we are not posting or if we are educated about protecting our privacy. 
So, these are my questions: When is the last time you checked your privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or other social networks you subscribe? Do you understand what you are sharing? Are you comfortable with those settings? Do the settings intimidate you? Share your thoughts on privacy settings.

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