Jan 17, 2009

GUEST POST: Un-publish, un-list, un-friend…

Posted by: Danny Devriendt In: modern life| technology| thought leadership

Millions of people all around the globe dived happily into the web, blending in with countless social networks, publishing their personal blogs, sharing their private videos and pictures, and creating huge webs of countless social contacts. Web 2.0: the web is us, you know…

Few people did it smartly, realizing that personal information, personal data, and private lives are precious and deserve high protection. Few people were careful on what to share with whom, what to publish and where, and how to deal with incoming digital requests.

Others are slowly waking up in a digital nightmare, wondering where it all went wrong.

My prognosis for 2009 is that it is going to be a year of “un-publish”, “un-list”, and “un-friend”.  A year where people will try to scale down the enthusiast openness with which they hurried themselves and their families into Flickr, YouTube, Facebook and the like.

Because, yes, there is a difference between a “digital” friend, and the normal notion of “friend”. Because Facebook labels contacts as “friends” does not necessary mean that it is wise to share life, data and all pictures blindly with the hundreds of people in the “friends”-list. Would you share your half naked pictures with all the people in your phones dial list? With all the people on the mailing list of your company? So why are they open and unprotected on your Facebook again?

And the millions of very revealing pictures on Flickr? Tanned girlfriends on sunny beaches, drunken in-laws, sweaty Karaoke sessions…. all to share with colleagues and business contacts as well? And though I love cute babies, finding unprotected pictures of the helpless thingies draped on their innocent sheepskins on MySpace accounts and other picture sites makes me extremely uneasy. Do people not realize that everyone might be watching?

Tread with care. The web is a social place. It is not a protected area where you only meet friends. Chose carefully what to share. Protect your intimate life, your dignity, your reputation, and your loved ones.

Once it is online, it is in the open. Pretty much for ever. On the web “un-something“ is a myth…

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    This rings very true. A couple of years ago I was contacted by a German guy with shadowy security service connections. He was building a case against a fraudster who had contacted me. Over a number of long telephone calls he gave me some startling demonstrations of how vulnerable a person can be online - and he warned me to be very careful about the information I share about myself and my family.
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