Thursday, April 02, 2009

Private life gone public

The rapid growth of online social networks like facebook, has brought something with is which is quite interesting. That is the degree that the personal life is gone public in these networks. This is something I have thought about before. I have very many contacts in my facebook for example. I have people that i haven't even met, and was inclined to accept in because they were friends of my friends. And this makes me concerned sometimes. recently three incidents happened that brought the thought back to me. One was a correspondent between 2 friedns in a rather big mailing list, one asking about the romantic life of the other one. Another was in Facebook, when a girl replied to her boyfriend's mass norouz greeting, probably assuming that she is replying only to him but we all got the reply, and the last one a Wall conversation in Facebook again when a friend asks another about the result of a test. In my judgment all three incidents were the kind that the two parties involved would probably wouldn't be comfortable having in loud voice in say a party full of people. But thees happened easily among the virtual crowd.

Now what is interesting here, is the degree of comfort people (including myself) feel when they share dialogs, post pictures, reply to messages, and etc in these mediums. I don't know how it is for you, but to me, it's like i forget that other non-close people are present there and can see these info. Another example is the mailing lists. I am actively involved in two mailing lists. One is my highschool friends, and the other is the alumni of the university i graduated from. In both lists, i have people that i know closely, and they happen to be the ones that are more pronounced in the list and post often. But there are again many other silent members that i don't know who receive these correspondents. Again, i tend to forget that they are ever there. Same thing goes with this blog too. Although i am not using my name here, but most of the people that read here know my identity, and i would definately won't say some of the things i write here, where strangers who know me, or not, are physically present.

So, just observing the comfort people feel in sharing their private life in virtual world, makes me wonder why we are careless about all this?

As a side note, i have this theory to answer my own concern. But it is not a very satisfying answer, anyway. I call it "Too much info = No info". The amount of information online has gone so crazily up that your information is a tiny insignificant portion of this vast pool and people have no time or will to digg into your personal information, while there is tons of other more interesting things for them to explore. But who knows, someone might.

Anyways, long post, and i generally dislike long posts. It will not happen anytime soon:)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Let alone the networking sites ,Not even your regular email and phones are free from privacy violations.. If someone wants to they can ..

Anonymous said...

Well...I agree that Private life is going public more and more these days; even this simple fact that you and I are writing here, means that we are sharing a large amount of personal information unintentionally. But yet, I believe that we can sometimes control our privacy as much as possible. For example on facebook I have blocked writing on my wall, because I don't want my friends to mention a thing - even unintentionally- that I do not like to share with others...

:)
I don't know!
Maybe I am still too conservative!

cuckoo said...

I like this discussion and here is another aspect that I find also interesting

sometimes when people share some private and/or embarrassing info on these mediums, it is like part of them want to confess and get relief ...
I am sure most of us have experience of writing "completely" anonymously, it does not feel the same as writing where some people know your identity, the latter has a dark/guilty pleasure kind of thing :)

Esfand` said...

some time back I read this small research work about yotube some where n I have dig that out again..

http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/lange.html

I think about this fact many times.... but then I guess for me, this whole internet social networking has helped me shape my own self at a much larger extent ... to the point where I have learned not to care much about what others will think :D n just be what I want to be n do what I want to do (n ofcourse it must not in any way harm any one else) :D I know its a bit crude and rash but there is no other way around ... or else I wud be always worrying n killing my self about others perception of me. So yeaa private has become more public, and the boundary is fading away so I better learn how to be what I can always manage to be :)

n I so definitely agree with what Cuckoo says!! It definitely is a sort of catharsis, like I definitely like to post on my facebook specially about my bad tests n I hardly ever talk about the good ones :D

Thanks for starting such an interesting discussion!!

Have a wonderful week ahead!

Nasrin said...

well,the social needs of people is a desire that grows with the intensity and level of social interaction they have accumulated . in the past , it was very ok for a dominant member of a community to be heard and be seen.
it is rather a desire and gives pleasure to the subject of popularity.
look at the life of celebrities,so much media end news attention revolving around the most unimportant things they do.
the interesting side is that, the celebrities themselves like it more!(my strong guess).
today, so many of our thoughts are shaped by media and crying for being seen has extended from some individual behavior to some social trial.
there are so many people who are creating the second virtual life for themselves in these cyberspace virtual world, they pretend to be someone they like to be.
they are not much afraid to be seen anymore, actually for many of them it is the first time they are seen, they like to be someone who can get attention rather than being a nerdy geek or a girl with big glasses in school, it helps them have more and more friends and consequently experience a sense of popularity .
I think I can talk about it for much longer but I originally just wanted to share this link with you !!!!;)
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/kidsonline/

Anonymous said...

Hello:
I lost my friend blog because I use a new computer. I tried several times googling her but I did not succeed. So I tried to find her friends. I was not successful for three of her friends. then I remember you as her friends. first I tried jirjirak, I was not successful.then I tried Jeerjeerak. All of sudden your blog appeared. I was happy to find your blog. I read your long post " Private life Gone Public". I think that your thoughts are correct. I do not know you. I do not want to know you personally. It happens that I know you from my friend'd blog. I like your ideas.

Anonymous

Arash said...

Why is it that we take the "need to privacy" for granted in the first place? Do we ever sit down and think what the source of this need is? Isn't it fear? Aren't we conditioned to believe that if we share some information, we're going to be hurt somehow sometime? I wonder if those who truly believe in the principle of unity have such boundaries.

cuckoo said...

Arash,

if I need something, it is natural to want to have it, maybe in moderation .... but controlling and suppressing my needs because of my "beliefs" (in unity, etc.) does not seem a good idea to me, in fact, seems quite dangerous

also "fear" is a good thing, maybe in moderation, as it helps us avoid different natural and human-caused threats around us ...

yasaman said...

Honey , I remember the day you gave me this blog address but later you told me that you had immediately deleted some posts as they were very personal. I believe our relationships are like concentric circles. the very inner circle is the most personal one that no one is allowed to enter. our familly , friends and other people are placed on outer circles where we place them . So we can manage who get closer and who should not. This way no one can bother our privacy. For example in Facebook I have only friends and family members in my list , no strangers, as I like to be free sharing ideas and correspond with my dear ones. My Facebook profile is my home and I can never let ones I don't know step in. In the meanwhile I hope no thief can enter my home(hack my account)
I also own a weblog , write anonymous posts and enjoy to say whatever I long.