I was thinking this morning on the way into work about social network technologies, as you do for fun in the morning. You don’t? Anyways, I was thinking specifically about the level of fear there is for both users and non-users of these services. I’m talking both about “friend and fuck” networks like Myspace, Friendster and the like, and more general services like Flickr (for photos), Youtube (for video) and indeed blogging inself.
There is a certain fear of having your privacy invaded, that people can know too much about you. I agree that there are certain precautions one should take online, of course. I wouldn’t give you my credit card details here. Well I might, but you would have to be really nice to me first. I wouldn’t shout my real name all the time. I won’t tell you exactly where I live. And I wouldn’t discuss something on here that I should talk to my partner about instead. My attitude is that apart from that, pretty much everything is fair game. And that is where the confidence comes that I suspect a lot of people either lack or fear revealing.
I just don’t think there is anything to worry about. Does it matter if someone I don’t know sees my face, hears me speak? Fact of the matter is that I am one very tiny voice in a seething mass of people. So few people would see it in the first place, and one way or another I will know most of those people anyways. So why worry?
To take this further, I was also thinking about how I would feel if my child was blogging, or on Myspace. I’m not a parent yet, but if I was, I would be happy for them to do so, as long as they obeyed the same sensible behavior I do, and also I would be subscribed to their site or blog, and actually read it all. I can’t see the problem about that either. I think what has scared a lot of parents is hearing in the media about what Myspace is being used for, and being scared and shocked that teenagers spend all their time talking about sex and music they themselves don’t like, and expressing views they totally disapprove of.
What I think is happening is that the teenagers on Myspace are expressing their interests and beliefs in a fairly unrestrained manner, and many other people used to being very careful and private on the internet, as they have been taught to be very security-conscious as a matter of course, find that hard to handle, along with their general distaste for the unknown. They have yet to get that almost aggressive Confidence 2.0 that their children have.