Is Privacy A Thing of the Past?
With all the corporate and political scandals that have increasingly dominated U.S. media in recent years, the notion of transparency has overwhelmingly affected how we function as individuals, colleagues, families, businesses, and global communities. Privacy use to be a clear concept where people understood boundaries and respected them accordingly. However with a world that has become impatient and technology dependent, people have grown a sense of entitlement as it related to accessing information both “public” and “private” on individuals and organizations.
The reality is that with the ongoing use of social media and many smart phone applications, “private is the new public”. With the rise in privacy violation lawsuits, the separation between public and private information is no longer concrete. Technology, and more specifically social media platforms, has presented a front row seat to the stage of people’s lack of judgement, revelation of character, and self absorption.
While social media has taught us that overall people love to share information about themselves with anyone who will listen. Mobile technology has enabled us to share this massive amount of information in real time. Instead of talking about where you went for lunch today, you can share where you are eating right now; an ability most would have found to be a bit frightening as recent as 10 years ago.
Many would argue that Facebook has been the pioneer of this social movement, collecting billions of data that supports the notion that people just may be addicted to sharing and accessing personal information. Facebook analysts report that many of the people that discontinued the use of their FB accounts, only find themselves returning a short while after. It is now safe to conclude that society has become obsessed with this social media engine.
People have established relatively strong bonds of trust in their elusive online social communities. From their Facebook Friends to Twitter Followers, this trust in personal online social circles, have led people to voluntarily share information that use to be considered “private”. People feel a comfort in expressing their true feelings, sharing experiences, and promoting all of their likes and dislikes of the world with their perceived pool of friends.
Given what we know about social media behavior, one must now question how people decipher between privileged and general information. If the definition remains the same, have we expanded the boundaries so great, that there is very little value on privacy overall. Interestingly enough, the popularity growth of social media is fueled by the same individuals who object to corporate use of such volunteered information for screening, hiring, and terminating job candidates.
Although financial valuation is uncertain for the costs of the public transparency trend, one thing is clear, the notion of privacy can only be protected when individuals begin to use strategic discretion as to how, what, and where information is being disclosed all together.
“The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You?” By: Eli Pariser