Confidence 2.0

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.

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2 comments

  1. I personally think that garnering everything with one’s identity is alomst egotistical to a point. For me, part of the ‘joy’ of the internet is its anonymity. I would no more post my picture on t’internet than I would walk with my bare arse down Oxford High Street.

    That said, I do think there can be a bit of hysteria present when talking about kids posting stuff online – it’s not as if they’re suddenly going to be stalked by rampant paedos or anything.

    Why is it so important to prove your true identity anyway? Any sites/blogs that one might have would surely not need that verification anyway? Just my thoughts.

  2. I find that when I’m guarded on blogs and or boards, it’s not because of what I might reveal to people I don’t know, it’s the awareness that people I do know also read it. But there is a strange half-life that some people communicate on the web – the need to confess/boast/confide – I know things about the personal and sex life of people I’ve met a couple of times in a bar that I don’t know about people I see once or twice a month.

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