If a stranger asked you in-person the same questions Facebook does, what would you say?

Summary:What would you say to a stranger who walked up to you and asked for your sexual preference, phone number, and email address? Watch this video and see what you think!

Imagine you're at the mall one day, happily shopping around when all of a sudden, someone walks up to you and starts asking you questions like what your sexual preference is; what your email address is; what your telephone number is; what you're doing there at the mall, etc. How would you respond?

The juxtaposition of our online habits with our offline habits is uniquely presented in one of the most hilarious videos I've seen in quite a while. It's great seeing common perceptions of online and offline expectations being exploited in this manner, so I couldn't help but bring more awareness to it and find out what YOU would do in a similar scenario! Have a look at the following video, but pay mind to the caveat:

Caution: NSFW ([N]ot [S]afe [F]or [W]ork) language is used a couple of times in the video below, so watch with care!

 

Now, I realize the societal and cultural reasons why people would typically react with reservation/hostility when being forcibly propositioned with these types of questions -- not to mention the intent of one person asking you these questions vs. you answering them while signing up for a social networking site -- but the point of the end result remains the same: if you wouldn't want a completely random stranger to know some of these things about you in-person, why are you so willing to give this information to Facebook or other social networking/media platforms and the complete strangers who inhabit them?

At the very least, the video above puts into perspective the legitimate need for privacy and why social networking platforms should err on the side of privacy in all cases. For many of us, privacy is a no-brainer and we immediately set our accounts up in exactly the ways we intend for them to be viewed. But for many others, signing up on social networking sites is almost a necessity these days just to keep in touch with friends/family. Anything past that is simply entering data into a computer as far as they're concerned. They don't realize that their information is being put to use for marketing purposes and all sorts of other things not covered in what the video above presents. But I digress.

Even still, this video got me thinking on the track of if signing up for a site like Facebook were an in-person interview process of sorts. What information would you be willing to hand over to a person asking you questions about your personal data in a situation like that? Naturally, you would still have the choice to seek that avenue out and answer/withhold certain information, but would you find certain questions more offensive in-person than reading them online? It's a good scenario to ponder that may surprisingly guide your perception of social networking in ways you hadn't yet considered!

With that in mind, how do you use social networking these days? Did you find a personal truth to be learned from the video above, or did you simply watch it and go, "meh." Let me hear from you in the comments section below! Even if you hate all things social and this video showcases just why, your opinion counts in this discussion, too.

Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Stephen is a freelance writer and blogger based in Charlotte, NC. His contributions to ZDNet cover topics related to security, gaming, Microsoft, Apple, and other topics of interest with a tech/SMB skew.

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