Thursday, 28 June 2012

Are you really stupid enough to say that online? Oh - you are...

One of the most frustrating things that I see on an almost-daily basis is people revealing far too much information about their lives on public media platforms.

Everything from how much they hate their boss, their egotistical co-workers, their friends, their family, the world. It’s one thing to take to email, or to a personal message, or a fully-locked Facebook or Twitter feed, but the amount of sensitive information that’s shared in this manner is quite frankly a little frightening.

The screen-grab at the top of this post is taken from a website called We Know What You’re Doing - a site set up by a coder called Callum Haywood to trawl the publicly available data on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare to find out who’s casually uploading private, potentially slanderous and possibly illegal information about themselves.

My take on it? It’s stupidity - but that’s not to say that it’s entirely the participants fault. Sharing feels more personal than ever now. We feel as if we are connected to our friends and family directly though our smartphones and our laptops, conveniently forgetting that there are billions of people out there that have access to your information. I would try and think about it a bit more, but I’m a bit busy at the moment building my tinfoil hat to stop the saucer people stealing my yellow mind juice.

Do social media sites need to have more protection for users that are unaware of just how public the information they are sharing is? Or is that protection their responsibility to some degree? I know that these sites feel smaller, more personal and more connected to people that only want the best for you. But never forget that sometimes, the person on the end of that Tweet, Facebook mention or Foursquare check-in might not have your best interests at heart. Or maybe they do have your best interests at heart - you’re just being a jackass.

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