There is fundamental thing I hear over and over when it comes to people going online and using social networks – and that is the concern over privacy.
I am not one to dismiss the concerns over identify theft, Internet scams that rob people of their money, or pirates, hackers and malicious individuals who break into personal accounts and poison someone’s reputation (or far worse). There is no doubt that people need to be careful about who they share information with and take steps to safeguard their accounts and online activity.
Actually, what I am referring to is the position people who live on the tail end of Generation X and beyond who think the general practice of giving away personal information is somehow detrimental. Now, by “general practice” I am referring to the posting of pictures (parties, family events, etc), stories and other personal accounts of someone’s life that a vast majority of us do on a daily basis.
On this front I hear time and time again that those pictures or stories, posted by NextGeners and younger GenXers will come back “to bite them when they seek a senior corporate job or public office.” Today, this may be true. But in 5 to 7 years, do we really think anyone will care? I mean really care?
If we take into account the changes in culture we are experiencing, as well as how the workforce is changing, people are going to be less concerned about some college party picture over the next 5 years than they are today, because the chances the same kind of picture exists for them is probably pretty high. Or – they have experienced so many other people who have shared similar images it will not strike them as that big of a deal. This is not to suggest that our overall moral attitudes will change, or that we will start to accept reckless behavior in the workplace. Far from it. But people will certainly be more understanding of what people once did or do in their personal lives.
Technology is encouraging a lot of changes. Changes in our activity level, recognition of other people and cultures, and overall, I think technology – specifically the consumption of information online – is making us more tolerant and accepting.
With that said, I would be interested in hearing comments or opinions about this. Take a moment and respond the poll below. Let me know what you think about privacy and online use today.