Privacy, Social Media, and What I Learned from the Hong Kongers

I’ve always been privacy-minded, even since my first social network account on Myspace. I’ve never made my profiles public, and have always kept in mind that anything I post will be held in space indefinitely. I was lucky enough to have a dad that knew these technologies well, even before issues of privacy and data aggregation became more common knowledge.

An online presence is important. I wish I could say that most people have figured that out. CarlyCrunkBear, anyone? My G+ profile  is tailored to represent me through online searches done by anyone. My Facebook and Instagram are private, because I wish to keep those informal and separate from my professional life.

Privacy is up to the individual. It is important that kids are educated about privacy and sharing, so they can avoid the pitfalls that people like CarleyCrunkBear succumbed to. And like Danah Boyd noted in the video for Microsoft Research that I posted at the top of the page, it is usually the embarrassing, foolish, moments that you don’t want people to see that get shared online.

A couple of years ago there was sort of a shaming campaign in Hong Kong. Local HK Chinese people would post videos of mainland Chinese people doing boorish things. There were videos of mainlanders peeing in public, spitting, being loud or rude, and other unsavory moments being posted on YouTube to highlight the disapproval of the HK Chinese in regards to an influx of mainland Chinese people visiting and moving to HK.

In terms of privacy, this is my greatest concern–that some random stupid thing that I do accidentally(maybe trip off a curb and rip the rear end of my pants off?) will be recorded and shared without my knowledge or consent.

Dealing with privacy issues is rather simple. It is about giving people guidance and knowledge. It is about showing restraint, avoiding social media when you’re inebriated or angry, and realizing that you’re leaving a traceable legacy with every word/image you post. It is the ability of others to share your day to day life that worries me.

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