Privacy: the state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people.
A concept which seems impossible when participating in a social media network. Isn’t the point of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to share your life with the world? Although most networks have options in the settings to make a profile private, does it mean we have actual “privacy”? Every time you post a photo online you are inviting the world, or even just your friends list (which probably consists of 600+ people), to look at you, judge you, examine your flaws, and invade your privacy. When I think about how many times I have “creeped” someone’s profile, it always makes me think, how many people have creeped me? And we subconsciously welcome it by posting our lives on the internet!
With the coaxed affordances of Facebook, we are encouraged to constantly update our friends on our thoughts and feelings all the time. Facebook asks me “What’s on your mind?” every single day. Some people seem to post anything and everything on social media without the social filter they might have in real life, because they are safe behind the screen of a computer. They boast their political views and they can avoid confrontation at the same time. Online conversations also give users the chance to carefully craft their next response, a feature we don’t have in real life conversations.
One advantage of being able to share anything online is that if a user chooses to do so, he or she can share to a large audience in a single post. Sharing personal information has almost become tradition. It seems like the first thing someone does when they get engaged or pregnant is think of a creative way to post it to Facebook. It’s easier than calling several dozen people. That way, everyone sees the news and you save a ton of time and effort.
Birthdays are another example. We put our birthdays on our profiles expecting all of our friends to write the generic “Happy Birthday Monaco!” post, only so that the next day we can make the generic, blanket “Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes!” status. It’s not even special anymore. People share so much information, that used to be kept a little more private, all the time that when exciting news does come about, society is desensitized to it.
A major advantage and disadvantage to sharing private information online is that it’s easy to find. You can easily find information about others, but others can also easily find you!