web 2.0 and social media | September 25, 2012

The Secret's Out: New Technology Speakers Weigh In On Internet Privacy [VIDEO]

Imagine if everything that you did online—and believed to be private—was suddenly visible to everyone you know. New technology speakers Rahaf Harfoush and David Eaves have spoken extensively about how to balance your online and offline life—and the ramifications of living in a society where the lines between the two are becoming more and more blurred. A similar issue was addressed in a Huffington Post article which reported that: "Facebook appears to have a bug that is causing private messages users sent — some years ago — to appear on their public timeline." While Facebook is denying that any breach of privacy has actually occurred, it does open the floodgates to discussions about online privacy. If, such a thing can ever actually exist. 

Both Harfoush and Eaves agree that there is a price to pay for sharing everything online. Harfoush argues that the social norms associated with online activity are just an extension of real-life norms. "Paying certain prices and towing the line in certain respects around social norms are nothing new," Harfoush said in an interview with Lavin. "We do them in our real world every single day." She continues: "If everything is available online then I'm just going to be super careful about what I post, and what I look for, and what I browse."

Erring on the side of caution is certainly good advice. However, as a former member of Obama's New Media team, and the co-founder of the strategic consulting firm Red Thread Inc, she knows first hand that it is a bigger red flag to see that someone has no digital footprint than it is to see someone whose online activity is questionable.  David Eaves, a negotiations specialist and a leading voice of the "open" revolution, agrees, but adds that as social media begins to mature, our views surrounding what can and can't be shared may change. "I actually think that if there's not a certain amount of your life that’s open and online, people may not believe you," he tells Lavin. He also thinks that sharing more online "may actually lead to a more forgiving society."

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