Will Social Networks and Sharing Change Our Culture?
I found this study from Pew Internet Project. Will Millennials ‘grow out’ of sharing? And it got me thinking about the content that we share on the internet.
Social networking sites are making people’s lives more visible and transparent. Is this just an excitement that will wear off when the novelty is gone or are we going to see gradual opening up of our lives that have been hidden?
There are a lot of people who believe a persons life should remain hidden. Others think that they have nothing to hide. There’s a movement called radical honesty where people blurt out whatever pops into their head.
When looking at this in a more structured way I see different categories. The information we share can be:
- Good – sharing valuable information, great moments of your life, helping others, being generous
- Bad – insulting, lying, doing things that your peers don’t approve of
- Mundane – how many times did you go to rest room, daily routine, and other low value information
Now there’s the question of who cares? What is valuable to you might be boring to others. In a near future we will be able to stream our lives 24/7. Most of that is junk! How are we going to find the interesting parts in the life feed of our friends?
This calls for massive filtering by the criteria you set. You can filter what gets published and your friends can filter what what they want to see about you. This means that the life feed you see when you look up John Smith will be a lot different from what your friends might see. I see a major battle between social networking sites and search engines in extracting relevant data from life feed.
I believe that the main question is are you willing to share everything you do with the world. There are moments of your life that you want to advertise an show off. The puppy you saved and the donation you made. But then again, the time you ran a red light or when you had one too many during the last office party. Are you willing to share every single web address you surf (excluding financial, etc)?
Publicy will replace privacy. Privacy will appear quaint, like wearing gloves and veils in church. —Stowe Boyd
Another matter is sharing other peoples experiences. You might delete the red light incident from your feed but the innocent bystander may push it to the net under the caption “Insane driver terrorizing the streets” and then a helpful friend will tag you on that video.
So I am convinced that publicness will continue. Not only that, but I believe that publicness will be seen as a public good and even necessity. When we share our data about our diseases and treatments, we add to a body of knowledge that can help others in our position. I believe that keeping such information to oneself will one day be seen as antisocial. —Jeff Jarvis
If you think about stock market and public companies the the idea is that all information is available to all market participant on equal bases. Seems like a perfect case for social sharing. But then there are the trade secrets and plans to dethrone the competition.
You may find it hard to believe but there are actually people behind corporate wall. In those cases companies might be sharing their employees personal information. This might have a real business case behind it. For example:
Let’s have a performance record of our delivery people on company’s Facebook page where people can chose the person to serve them. Delivery Girl Jane has a record of being 98,76% on time. Great! But Delivery Boy Jack’s track record only shows 64,21%. Soon to be fired Jack has a real problem, who will hire him as a delivery person if that information is publicly available on the internet.
It is clear that all generations are happy to share information, the key is for technology to come to grips with the fine line between public/private or domestic/everyday-life concepts that people are using with these technologies. This means that either corporations will have to learn to encode these distinctions through a ‘hard-core’ of code with technical protection measures, or else perhaps governments will need to legislate to prevent the harvesting of data. Either way the open-sourcing of public life will not be going away. —David M. Berry
Social sharing is only a few years old and there’s a long way to go before new rules and acceptable norms appear. But I think we open up a lot more in the near future. How open are you willing to go?
Image credit zebble