Categorized | Online Identity

The Public Private Lives of Internet Users

img_7576When using social networking services or simply posting a comment on a website, best practice is to assume that everyone will find out about it. An off color remark posted in a forum could easily find its way to Facebook or Twitter. Celebrities and politicians have found themselves thrust into headlines after the wrong picture is posted online. Techcrunch’s article A Secret Is No Longer a Secret Once You Tell the Internet discusses how Facebook founder Mark Zukerberg’s sister posted a picture to Facebook and was shocked to find that a friend of a friend posted it on Twitter.

All social media sites have privacy settings. Facebook allows users to choose who sees a post. Twitter users can make their accounts private. Pinterest users can choose to create private boards. But, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of social media? Facebook and Twitter were designed to allow users to connect with each other. Any internet user can enjoy connecting with her friends just as long as she gives some thought to what she is sharing.

A recently passed California law makes it mandatory for websites to allow teens to delete their own posts. Websites are not required to delete the same post if another user copies it. The purpose of this law is to keep teens from posting photos online that may come back to haunt them in the future. This law doesn’t mean that teens shouldn’t be cautious about what they post online. A user can capture a screenshot in just a few seconds and repost the picture on several media sights before the original post can be deleted. Social media can be a great way to connect with friends as long as users post with the assumption that what they post can be seen by everyone.

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