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

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!

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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.

Topic: Social Enterprise

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35 comments
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  • Facebook and MSFT will be managing our medical records soon

    Congratulations - you've been tagged in a photo showing your medical condition. Click here to comment.
    HollywoodDog
    • Could be far worse - it could be Apple, or worse

      @HollywoodDog

      Google! My medical records available to the highest bidder.
      Will Pharaoh
      • Mr. Microsoft mole:

        @Will Pharaoh

        Is this one of your posts displaying insight/knowledge? Strikes me as just another catty comment, just like most of your other posts.
        Economister
      • That's right Economister, I forgot

        @Will Pharaoh
        [b]anyone[/b] using MS products (and of course refuting a negative comment, even if it's a false comment) is a mole in your eyes, as nobody would believe MS does anything good or make anything people actually want to use.

        Or are you trying that old Donniboy trick - you know, where you think the more you tell your lie, the more people will start to fall for it, and believe it?

        Nice try mole, but we're onto you.

        Won't be long before we find out who you really work for, as you slipped up already by letting on you're a mole.
        Will Pharaoh
      • Yeah Paranoid Schizophrenia.

        @Will Pharaoh I'm sorry, but where is Google getting your medical records, and where are they actually sharing information? Google datamines your information, but they do that without sharing it. They anonymously match people in certain bins with ads, and don't disclose to the syndicated ad company who matched that profile. Unless Google gets your PHI without your consent you have no point.

        Besides, based on your ZDNet postings everyone on the internet already knows you're a tinfoil hat wearing paranoid schizophrenic.
        snoop0x7b
      • RE: If a stranger asked you in-person the same questions Facebook does, what would you say?

        Economister - So Hollywood up above was a intelligent and factual comment - thanks for the clarification - at least your consistent - sad - but consistent.
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: If a stranger asked you in-person the same questions Facebook does, what would you say?

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

      All of the above describes succinctly why I hate Facebook and more. I wouldn't answer these type questions if asked by a complete stranger in reality so why in the name of names would I want to answer these online?

      I value my privacy above all, and while I used to be a bit more open about such things I vastly prefer them to be linked to anonymity when revealed. I like the fact that you can assume any username you can think of online and be what you want to be, however I feel that actually linking said usernames to actual people is nothing short of disrespecting the intent of the Internet when it went global.

      The internet is a forum, and people don't always need to know who you are, where you're from, or what kind of people you'd pursue romantically. If you feel candid enough to reveal such things in the anonymity of the internet, it's done it's job admirably. More openness in social interaction is good, but admittedly I find that half of the fun IS IN THE CHASE. In the chase of friends. In the chase of anyone socially.

      If someone has piqued your interest, I feel it's a lot more personal and therefore more effective if you make an effort to actually talk to them some way.
      Hint: it doesn't even have to be face to face, as long as you're talking to that person...you can chat with them online just as well as you can call them on the phone or talk to them face to face.

      The best friends made are ones you took the time and trouble to get to know. Half of the problem with society is people who judge others without even more than a half-assed effort to know them. I believe that things like Facebook undermine the prime charm of the internet, and that's to discourage the passing of judgement on others...for you really CAN'T know for sure who is on the other end. It could be anybody.
      ZazieLavender
      • RE: If a stranger asked you in-person the same questions Facebook does, what would you say?

        As long as you're talking to that person...you can chat with them online just as well as you can call them on the phone or talk to them face to face. <a href="http://www.musthighschool.com/">online high school</a> | <a href="http://www.musthighschool.com/must/diploma/">high school diploma</a> | <a href="http://www.musthighschool.com/must/ged/">online ged</a>
        jordanhawk
    • RE: If a stranger asked you in-person the same questions Facebook does, what would you say?

      @HollywoodDog Some Twitter users thought the "Last Chance" message was a terrorist threat. Others assumed the Wall St. protesters were behind it. <a href="http://www.mtsconverter.com.br">MTS Conversor</a> Artist Kim Beck, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who lives part time in New York, chose messages from advertising billboards as cryptic comments on the faltering economy. <a href="http://www.mtsconverter.com.br/mts-converter-for-mac.htm">MTS Conversor Mac</a>
      Edward1314
  • RE: If a stranger asked you in-person the same questions Facebook does, what would you say?

    What is the face book? Oh right, the internet for slightly retarded people.
    Tommy S.
    • Troll much?

      @Tommy S. And you expose your own inner retard by pretending to not know what FB is... typical troll behavior.

      Personally I give FB the same info I'd give some random stranger - very little... unless she was a hot random stranger then I'd be more inclined to give her my digits... LOL
      athynz
      • Message has been deleted.

        SonofaSailor
      • lol

        @athynz Lol, good luck with that one. What's your approach to that, "Hey baby want to bump iPhones to exchange vcard info?"
        snoop0x7b
  • RE: If a stranger asked you in-person the same questions Facebook does, what would you say?

    The difference being of course, that you're choosing to sign up for fb. Of course, you should be wary of privacy settings, but ultimately, you're making an informed choice to say, here, this is me, and I'm happy to share that. If a random stranger wanders up in the street requesting my mobile number, interests and sexual orientation, they'd get short shrift. (Unless they were especially attractive of course!)
    obliquewordsmith
  • RE: If a stranger asked you in-person the same questions Facebook does, what would you say?

    Facebook never asked me my sexual preferences, nor my sexual orientation (although, as a proxy, it did ask me whether I was interested in men, women, both, or none).

    By the way, sexual preference and orientation are not the same thing.
    rgcustomer@...
    • RE: If a stranger asked you in-person the same questions Facebook does, what would you say?

      @rgcustomer@... Do you realize what you just wrote?
      sackbut
  • RE: If a stranger asked you in-person the same questions Facebook does, what would you say?

    In person means 100% of the human communication
    abilities mobilized.

    Compared to Social media type Facebook
    approximately 5%.

    A lot of ants, generating one fat Queen only . . . . . .
    xmeshman
  • Users need to have better control over their data

    While the obvious worry is with user to user privacy issues with facebook, the greater concern is really with facebook "owning" so much information about its users. This, highly contextualized information is accumulating among a few service providers. This leaves very little control in the user's hands. Users need to have better control over their data!

    Privachi (www.privachi.net), a privacy-centric social network, gives users the benefits of a social network while letting them own their social information. On Privachi, messages that a user posts are ?locked? in such a way that even Privachi servers can?t unlock them, only the user?s friends can. In addition, user updates, photos, and videos are stored in locations that the user chooses (even locations outside Privachi servers, if the users chooses them) ?to prevent any one service from knowing everything about the user. Photos, videos, or comments deleted by a user are truly erased since they are stored in the user specified location such as the user?s box.net or dropbox account. We hope Privachi provides a fun social network for users while helping them protect themselves from social profiling and putting them back in control of their social data.
    privachi