Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Facebook and Privacy . . . I don't think so.

Yes, I am fixating on Facebook. 

I saw this graphic in the New York Times last week, but I was reminded of it again when I read danah boyd's posting, "Facebook and Radical Transparency (a rant)"  Of course, in the incestuous blogosphere world, I came to danah's posting via another posting from Will Richardson titled, "Teach.  Facebook.  Now." 

Take a moment to follow the link to the graphic from the New York Times, and then tell me that you can make  sense of it.  The beauty of this, of course, is that the creators of the graphic are striving to explain (and in the process simplify) Facebook's new privacy settings. 

This is discouraging and a bit overwhelming for me.  I have modified my privacy settings, but I am also trying to remind myself why I got on Facebook in the first place: to be out there with the 400 million others who are out there.  Facebook is a private enterprise, but like bars and bowling alleys and stadiums and, yes, even most religious institutions, it is a private enterprise where the public is meeting.  Unlike the bars where my father's generation met or the bowling alley of my youth, however, the scale (the volume, the profits) are definitely not the same.  Of course, the privacy issues are significantly different, too.  My father's generation didn't even have to share their name with someone at the local watering hole.  I think I paid cash at the local bowling alley while flirting with the girls in the lane next to us (or, more accurately, trying to flirt:().  Gutter ball.   My father's footprint was literal, as was mine as a youth.  My daughter's digital footprint, by comparison, is Sasquatch-like.  

I'll end my giving a shoutout to Will Richardson's blog, Weblogg-ed.  Will writes about Web 2.0 issues for the K12 crowd, and his stuff is consistently solid and provocative. 

I know less about danah boyd's blog, but if this posting that I have read is any indication, it needs to become part of my RSS aggregator.  Actually, this posting is the posting that I would have loved to have been able to write - ahh, so it goes.  AND, to top it off, she ends with lyrics from Ani Difranco - how cool is that?  Seriously, those of you reading this and who are interested in the way that Facebook shakes up our understandings and practices of public and private must read boyd's posting (and you won't be disappointed if you follow all of the links).


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