Buffalo News: You said WHAT?

The Buffalo News is running an article that gets at how voices carry online. It looks at accidental posts to list-serves and blog entries–basically the myriad of ways in which your presumed private message can get broadcast around the web. It left out Numa Numa and Star Wars Kid, but I think these fall into the same category: things that were put out there without any idea how out there they would get.

I still maintain that a big part of the problem with blogs and social networking sites is that users have an unreasonable expectation of privacy. The article concludes:

However, several users said it’s not fair for companies to judge job applicants based on what they post on their Web pages.

“I think that’s an invasion of privacy,” said Jennifer Hobes, a Buffalo State junior who lives in Buffalo. “It’s a social site. It doesn’t have anything to do with how they’d do their job.”

“I really do think what people do in their personal lives is their business,” said added Rachel Griffo, who is earning a teaching certificate at Buffalo State and who uses MySpace.

It’s true that employers now have a more open window into your private life. Of course, by and large, that window is opened up by the individual. You can’t open your draperies and then feign shock when someone peers in.

The interesting cases will come with secondary exposure. Even if you are aware of the issues, and studiously avoid putting pictures of yourself doing things you don’t want your future employers, children, or lovers to see, there is very little to stop others from posting a picture of you drunk & naked on the steps of the local kindergarten. (And if you ever see a picture of me like that on flickr, it was Photoshopped, I swear.)

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  1. Posted 7/4/2006 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    wow. your new web site design scared me. thought I’d clicked wrong.

    I start working with ALL my students by saying that everything they do and say online has the potential to be around for the next 10,000 years. My first 5 years online are missing, thank god, but the oldest thing I can find online is from 1992 when I’m asking for help to put together some culturally inclusive materials for teaching mythology to junior students.

    People thought that online community is a good thing. And it is, somewhat. As good as it is when you live in a small village in a house with big windows and thin walls.

  2. Posted 7/4/2006 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Hm… My earliest posts aren’t quite as embarrassing as I had remembered. These are from 1993:

    * On Judo for poorly sighted people

    * Translating Jaberwocky into Japanese

    * Request for infor on the Japanese Information Infrastructure

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