I do see a real decline in the level of trust folks invest in the favorite social networking platform, facebook. Today, the site defends the validity of its vast information-sharing program to the FTC.
But from what I am discovering, though I attempt to limit my posts to only my friends, and carefully select the most restrictive privacy options, any of my Wall posts are still visible to others, so long as they wish to search on various search terms. This means that despite the social sharing initiative on facebook, there is no privacy. In fact, there is ample ability to view and surveil my private posts, and drill into my posts depending on whether I meet certain criteria.
Here are my privacy settings, set to ‘friends only:’
And here is what happens when I search for someone. I can see their posts:
And when I wish to view posts based on certain criteria, such as ‘Egypt democracy,’ here’s what I get:
I sense that despite the media’s claim that facebook is a tool for removing governments, it’s actually a highly public means to distribute your communications. Folks using facebook should not make posts assuming that their privacy settings apply. I have to say that the underlying feeling of revulsion I get while on facebook is based on this fear that what I write is available for mass scrutiny.
I see much evidence pointing to college students moving away from facebook http://www.usatodayeducate.com/staging/index.php/blog/5-ways-to-take-your-life-back-from-facebook, and a lifestyle dominated by irritating social mediahttp://alonetogetherbook.com/.
I sense that despite the ongoing popularity of the site, that folks desire both connectivity, immediacy, but are missing the experience of relevance, and of expanding one’s life beyond the limits of ephemeral social circles.