Social networking gives false sense of privacy
While I was browsing the Internet this morning, a pop-up on my Facebook page informed me that my privacy settings were not very high. So, while I looked for a way to adjust them, I found this little icon in that corner that read Privacy Settings. I was just about to click it when I suddenly stopped and chuckled. I thought to myself: Is it really worthwhile, setting privacy on a social networking site? Isn’t it almost ironic?
Social networking sites are hubs of friends, activities, interests, families, relationships, states of mind, pictures, careers and almost everything we can imagine. And after this ceaseless list, if you think there room for privacy, then you may be living in a different era.
To begin with, the meaning of the word privacy is highly underrated. Privacy is not a state of not being disturbed by your parents. Rather, it is a state of being free from public attention. Thus, telling your mom to give you some privacy while you are posting your relationship status for thousands of others to see is certainly not a very good example of protecting your privacy. It’s actually sad that something that you cannot share with someone as close as a family member is just a click away for a bunch of acquaintances and even strangers.
This brings me to my second point — the different categories of friends within the many who could be a part of your social network. They could be your very close friends who you trust, casual acquaintances or complete strangers. The fact of the matter is, regardless of the category, all of these friends have access to all your so-called private stuff on these social networking sites. Especially if you are an individual in the public domain, any of your interests can be used as a weapon against you, whether it is your interest in women with big booties or your open prejudice against a particular group.
And finally, looking from a different perspective, even though sometimes we let other invade our privacy, at other times we are dragged into it. Thanks to advertising, even other independent websites require logins via social networking sites. If the world knows where you are and who you are with, it also knows which articles you read, which songs you listen to, what books are you buy, etc.
At this point, one might feel helpless — and it is definitely natural to feel that way since social networking is here to stay. But don’t let social networking become the one entity that knows everything about you. You can very legitimately demand privacy from a social network in the same way you demand privacy from people. So don’t be an open book, maintain your space and don’t be too quick to post pictures. Who knows — the social network might clash with your professional network, too.
Vaishali Gauba is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student. She is an editorial assistant at The Daily Targum.