The nature of privacy

I’ve been forced to confront recently the nature of privacy in this internet age. Having had to deal with Facebook for this blog’s purposes, and having invited some friends to have a look, I now confront the fact that although I swore I wouldn’t, I am now a daily facebook user – Blech! As I scrolled through pages and pages of mutual friends’ faces, I wondered if they realised just how public their lives are if I can look at them without permission.

But of course, a person chooses to upload images to their site, they choose the privacy settings, and they choose what to say in their news feeds. There are plenty of positives – it’s an easy way to keep track of mutual friends, especially those doing a stint overseas. It’s a quick way to share holiday photos, or new baby snaps.

The negatives are that your future employer is probably going to look at it before they give you a job. Does that really matter? For a long time I have been fearful of putting anything on the web. But should a person live their life in fear?

I recently had a job where I felt I couldn’t be open about my religion. Eventually, that was part of my reason for leaving. If an employer can’t accept you for who you are (drunken party pictures included) then do you really want the job? People lie so much in resumes – maybe Facebook gives a better picture of a person. Being honest has caused me problems, I have to admit. People quite often have a problem with the truth. But then again, you don’t have to remember what lies you told to whom and that makes life easier in the end.

Perhaps the right to privacy is gone forever (if it ever existed). Then again, if you’ve got nothing to hide, why are you complaining? All information itches to be free, to flit through as many minds as possible. Facebook is perhaps merely the modern equivalent of gossip over the back fence, something humans have been doing for thousands of years.

My friends who work in IT tell me that electronic privacy is largely illusory anyway, that if anyone really wanted to find out your details, it would be alarmingly easy. I may as well accept the fact and just get on with my life rather than cowering in a corner.

So let’s stride boldly forward together. It’s a brave new world – who knows what we’ll find.

Happy social networking everyone!