General Management, Product Strategy and Content Programming Executive
This post was originally posted on NewMedici.com.
I’ll admit it. I’m a social media junkie. And it’s not difficult to satisfy my addiction, considering the large number of social media sites that are quickly popping up as of late. But it has also got me thinking – considering the popularity of social media sites these days, should we be more concerned about our privacy? 5 years ago, it was only the early adopters who were on sites like MySpace and Friendster and most people were weary of sharing too much on the internet. These days Facebook has over 100 million registered users, and over 222 million visitors per month. Below is a list of some of latest and greatest social media sites, along with ways you can ensure that the whole world knows everything about you:
The largest social media network on the web. Here you can share pretty much anything, ranging from what you had for dinner, to a picture of what you had for dinner. And with Facebook Connect, you can now share anything you do anywhere on the web. It’s a marketer’s dream-come-true. Fortunately Facebook does have many tools where you can manage the privacy of your data down to the minutest detail.
You can segment your friends into lists and then choose which items you share are visible to which of your lists. However, doing this for all of your friends and for each item can be quite tedious. In addition, you have to watch out for friends of yours uploading photos and videos of you. You can easily disallow friends from tagging any media of you thus stopping them from linking anything to your Facebook account, but that kind of defeats the purpose of social media, doesn’t it?
Twitter is like the status update function of Facebook. What’s addictive about Twitter is the ability to easily consume just those people’s statuses that you’re interested in, and just as easily share your thoughts – in 140 characters or less. Your privacy options here are pretty much limited. Should you choose, you can limit viewing of your Twitter stream to only those you approve, but it’s probably just a better idea to not share any thoughts you’re not ok with everyone in the world being able to read.
LinkedIn was one of the first social networks I joined as it is focused mainly on business networking. Here you’re able to keep in touch with any business contacts you’ve met, as well as share your work history with the world and get recommendations from those you’ve worked with. LinkedIn is particularly good at being able to find the connections you have in common with someone. So if you ever want to do background checks on a person you’re looking to hire, you can very easily find some people to ask.
Here you can share every digital photo you’ve ever taken. You can share photos with the world, your friends, or no one, but Flickr also acts as a pretty cool way to backup and index your photos for easy searching should you choose not to use it as a photo-sharing site.
At Last.fm, you can share any music that you’ve listened to on your iPod or through iTunes. You can choose to share that information with everyone on Last.fm, just your friends or with nobody, but watch out, there’s no way to filter privacy just by song, so if you’re listening to Vanilla Ice on a daily basis, those you share it with will know.
Boxee combines two things I love. Social media and television. Boxee is a free media center through which you can stream content from sites like Hulu, Netflix, ABC, CBS and Comedy Central (as well as photos and music from Flickr and Last.fm) Boxee can be used on your computer, or installed on your Apple TV if you have one. Whenever you watch or listen to anything, Boxee makes sure all your friends know. You can also tie it in to your Twitter stream to broadcast to all your Twitter followers exactly what you’re watching.
Did you go out for dinner last night? Want to share what you thought of that meal? Well, Yelp is the place for you. Here you’re not able to hide any reviews that you create, but if you’re creating a review for The Counter, you probably want to share it with the people wondering what the burgers at The Counter are like. It also acts as a great way to do research on a restaurant before you go.
Raptr is like Boxee for video games. Here you share what games you’re playing and how you’re doing, and like Boxee, it can also broadcast this information to your Twitter or FriendFeed accounts. So if you’re slacking at work and taking a break to play that cool Flash game you found on the web – now everyone can know about it.
Released recently, Google Latitude is a mobile application that allows you to see exactly where your friends are at any time. It takes stalking to a whole new level. While I think the idea is cool, I wonder how quickly people will adopt this. Even this social media junkie thinks that perhaps this is information that should be kept private. For the time being.
What do you think? Is there a way to fully enjoy social media while still protecting our privacy, or does privacy not mean as much in today’s connected society?
This blog is about stuff I find interesting. Hopefully you will find them interesting too.