Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Social Networking - Facebook, Live Journal, twitter etc. Is there any privacy anymore? - Linda Strachan

Are all our lives lived on the net, like some science fiction author’s view of the future?

How much is too much?

Reality shows vs good old fashioned privacy?

How much should we reveal about ourselves?

What is publicity and what is invasion?

How safe is it?

I will admit to being a complete novice but as much as I can appreciate the delights of social networking, it seems like a lot of fun, but I feel that there is an issue with privacy or the lack thereof.

I have had a website for quite a number of years and I am constantly thinking about how I can upgrade it or use it better to help publicise my books and myself to my readers or potential future readers. But can I have a public and a private face? I hope so.
Do I really want casual visitors who may have heard of me or my books, getting to know who my personal friends and family are. Finding out personal information about their lives and mine, and even my children’s lives? Suddenly the protective mother in me rears up at the thought.

The younger generation growing up with these sites seem to find no problem with sharing every little detail about their lives with not only their friends but also the friends of friends of friends. So if, as has been said, we are never more than 5 places removed from anyone on the planet, this means literally EVERYBODY!

Am I being paranoid or are they being naive?

We are often being told to be wary of giving away too much personal information because of identity theft, but surely these sites make people careless about what information they share and who they share it with.

There is the lonely person who just wants to be popular and agrees to be ‘friends’ with anyone who asks. There are the friends or lovers that have turned against each other, posting damaging material, under the guise of truth.

Okay, so I make up stories for a living but, hey, there are so many possibilities for horror stories in this alone and unfortunately you only have to listen to the news to see that not all of them are fiction.


Anne Rooney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne Rooney said...

Both :-) You're a smart woman, Linda, you can work out what to share where. But some people (not just the kids) DO share far too much. And some people go out leaving their windows open, and some people smoke and some people drive too fast or drink too much. We will always find new ways to be stupid ;-)

adele said...

I have taken myself off Facebook, which I didn't like AT ALL. I would never go on myspace, bebo etc etc. But there is pressure from publishers, I think, on authors to write stuff on blogs and dedicated spaces on websites and so forth and that can be a burden on the writer. Random House have a thing called Authorplace where you can have a little mini-website and write/discuss/talk about on messageboards etc anything you like. I often put photos of myself into my website newsletter but never any of anyone else in my family. I agree, it doesn't hurt to be a BIT paranoid. They may very well be out to get you!

Mary Hoffman said...

Sorry you have left Facebook, Adele. I find it great fun.

But I have deleted a few people as friends, because I didn't really know them and they were clogging up my home page with constant photos of their husbands and children or writing posts in a language I didn't understand.

I've also made a decision not to have publishers or fans as Facebook Friends. Though there are a few librarians.

I now have 2 blogs, Linda. One is on my website and is about personal stuff and does not allow comments. The other is the more public Book Maven, which does. This makes sense for me.

Nick Green said...

It is beyond Orwell's wildest dreams, isn't it? Even he didn't predict this: that there would be hardly any need for the state to monitor us – we'd do it ourselves voluntarily!

I find it utterly baffling, personally. I'm a die-hard introvert. I don't share my personal life with anyone I don't know. My own website is a pack of lies (or 'work of fiction' as I prefer to call it).

More to the point, I am baffled by the degree of self-centredness it must take to assume that the world and his wife are interested in the minutiae of one's existence. Or the arrogance of contacting friends 'collect'. If I want to tell someone someone, I contact them personally.

The observant may notice the hypocrisy of me saying all this on a blog, to which I also contribute regularly. Hmmm, well... all I can say is, this is 'author Nick Green' talking, not Nick the person. He'd never write a blog as he's far too uninteresting.

Linda Strachan said...

Hi Mary
I have no idea how you find time for all that! Enjoying your Book Maven blog. Yes, it makes sense to decide how personal you want to make it and to have different ones for different reasons.

I love the idea that everything you put up there is a work of fiction, Nick, although I think we all give our true selves away in little ways and it increases the more we chat on-line.

I think I was more commenting on the total lack of privacy concerns many young people seem to have on some of these sites. But then it is not jsut the young, just look at these horrible reality TV programmes- people baring the worst of themselves in front of a TV camera. That I can't understand!

Anonymous said...

Facebook is a way to share tiny snippets of me, but most of it I keep very secret. It's like small talk; quite nice some of the time.

Some people get very boring with too much detail all the time, but just as with conversations, it's possible to tune out.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any reason why you couldn't have two facebook accounts... one public and one private.