Share and Share Alike
This post is part of a four-part series on privacy in the Social World which attempts to answer many common questions about the intersection between private and social. See Part 1 here. If you have a question that you’d like answered, leave a comment and let me know! Thanks for reading!
Meet Joe Average. Joe is headed to a cocktail reception to meet other people who are interested in Widgets. When Joe arrives at the party, fashionably late, he grabs a drink, maybe a few hors d’oeuvres, and starts working the room. He’ll maybe do a lap of the room, scanning the crowd, picking up bits of conversation, then he’ll dive into a group and join the discussion.
What does Joe talk about? At first, maybe it’s the party atmosphere, or the hosts. Maybe it’s the weather or the outcome of a recent sporting event. But as the conversation progresses, Joe will probably talk about himself. How is he involved with Widgets? He’s a buyer. How many widgets does he normally purchase in a quarter? Who does he get them from? What kind of widgets do his customers prefer? And Joe will probably ask questions of his new acquaintances, as well. At some point, Joe will politely excuse himself to find a different conversational group, but not before grabbing a business card or exchanging contact information. Joe is a Social Networker.
Deciding how much and what to share online is not a drastically different process from in-person social interactions. We consider to whom we are speaking, where we are speaking, and who else might be eavesdropping. At the bare minimum, you should share your name and a way to contact you. But depending on where this information is getting posted, anything more than that might be too much. As the potential audience for your message grows, the sensitivity to what you are giving away also needs to increase. Note that this is not a violation of the Social Contract 2.0, either – a small group of people sharing a lot can achieve the same social community as an extremely large group with each individual not sharing a whole lot.
Where do you draw the line on what to share?
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