After reading a recent post on KSDK.com, a local news affiliate in Missouri, I was reminded that we as a species really struggle to understand the value of our own personal privacy. It's easy, and in some cases justified, to get all combative and react to what social networks do with our data. However, the human aversion to personal responsibility when it comes to managing and curating our own content and privacy, the guts of what happens in our daily lives, seems to be evermore prevalent.
What is it with us humans? Contrary to those that hate all things Facebook and Twitter, over-sharing the inappropriate is not the fault of social media tools. The social media chapter in the information age has unearthed the fact that socially in our society, we don't have many decent role models (a person or an entity) to help guide us through the navigational perils of being online interactions. The bible of etiquette and appropriateness of what it means to be a human being with an immediate mass audience watching us in a digital world has not yet been written.
We've had decades, centuries really, to dial in our behavior and manners when going out in public and while there's a handful of people that still don't know you shouldn't blurt out the status of their messy divorce loudly in a crowded Starbucks, for the most part, people behave.
We've had less than a decade to wrap our emotional little brains around what it means to deal with the trials of our personal lives with the option of being able to so freely express ourselves about the good, the weird, and the duress, in a world where we can get reactions immediately from our friends, family and colleagues. The link/article I mention in the first paragraph shows this in that most people in times of stress and unhappiness are willing to run the risk publicly filleting themselves and bringing on legal woes by sharing very personal struggles that probably should not be shared in one of the most impersonal channels - Facebook.
We are in dire need of more discussions about people respecting their OWN privacy. We can't control what people we know do online but we can be a positive influence and remind our more dramatic and outspoken online constituents to take certain topics to a more private forum. Don't be afraid to send your buddy a private message reminding them of that for their own good. You could save them some serious headache and embarrassment down the road.
It would be nice to be able to call shenanigans and just say it's common sense. However, if you have more than 100 friends on Facebook, you are reminded frequently that common sense still isn't as common as we'd hope.