Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Privacy: It Can be Complicated in This Digital Age

By Stacy S. Jensen

Do you ever worry about privacy in this age of over-sharing?

My response varies with the social media outlet, and sometimes the time of day.

Today, we share much of our private lives
through social media.  There's no need to
spy through the keyhole anymore.
Over Christmas, the family of Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg made the news over a privacy issue. His sister Randi Zuckerberg discovered a private photo shared on Twitter. It turns out her privacy settings were not airtight.

If the Zuckerberg family can’t get its privacy settings correct, how are we regular folks supposed to figure this out?

I rarely find out privacy changes through Facebook, the company. Instead, I rely on several writers groups on Facebook or writers on Twitter to share the news.  If something big happens in this area, I expect the news to trickle down in my Facebook or Twitter newsfeeds.

I remind myself that nothing is really private on social media sites. At the end of the day, we’re each responsible for what we say and do online and in person.

Do you:
  • ·        Tell blog readers where you live — city or state?
  • ·        Write about things your children do?
  • ·        Share your real name?
  • ·        Criticize agents or other writers?
  • ·        Write about yourself or others in blog comments or tweets?

All of these online activities leave a digital trail.

Have you ever googled your name to see what comes up? I’ve done it and found random tweets, comments on blogs and my own blog posts show up.  This information is available for potential employers, agents, publishers and your mother to see.

While the Randi Zuckerberg privacy issue made some people laugh about the irony of it all, it reminded me to check my privacy settings.

Privacy is a lot more complicated today than it was way back in 2007 before cell phones were smartphones or the iPhone was born.

How do you deal with privacy issues with your personal and professional online presence? Are you worried or not concerned at all?

About the Author: Stacy S. Jensen worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for two decades. Today, she writes picture books and revises a memoir manuscript. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and toddler. 
Twitter: @StacySJensen