Social media is by definition, public information.
As a marketer and public relations professional, I have really enjoyed the fact that I can easily share, find and communicate with people.
As a power user, I love that everything and everyone is at my fingertips and that I can so easily share amazing stories and experiences with people I would have never met otherwise.
But….as a mother, friend and human being that cares, I have some concerns.
Our Eroding Privacy
My first concerns came as Facebook started to continually shift its privacy settings as it added new features and everything was opt out. At the status quo on Facebook, advertisers can use your connection with a brand to market to your friends without your knowledge through social ads; any of your friends can “check you in” to a location without your permission; if you add your cell phone to the system, marketers can harvest it for promotion, as well as your email through apps; until you reset it, your posts to your wall are set to public, and so on….
Recently Facebook settled with the US Government over how it “misled users about the use of their data.”
But the real concern is actually integration. Once you integrate one social network with another, or even a website, unexpected things can occur. For instance, my friend Tonia Ries blew the whistle on the Klout integration with Facebook, which had the effect of a minor getting a Klout account just from posting on his more public Mom’s wall.
This led to an apology by Joe Fernandez at Klout and also led to Klout adding a way to “opt out” of a profile on that service.
How Far Is Too Far?
And that is the rub. As adults we can make decisions about how much information to share, and we can thicken our skin an take the hit if we happen to make a mistake.
But as my 7 year-old son asked me a few weeks ago, “Mom, why is is okay for you to use your whole name online and not me?”
As a marketer and public relations professional, I believe I have an ethical duty to ask myself how I am using people’s data. I have started a Scoop.It topic on the issue of Social Media and Privacy. If you are interested in this, be sure to follow the topic in the graphic below.
How do you feel about privacy and social media? How far is too far? What, if any, is our responsibility for using this data?
Evolving Privacy in Social Media
Direct link to all privacy articles
Double face by Photo by uzi978