Millions of people around the globe dived happily into the Web, blending in with countless social networks, publishing personal blogs, sharing private videos and pictures and creating huge webs of countless social contacts. Web 2.0: The Web is us, you know…
Few people did it smartly, realizing that personal information, personal data and private lives are precious and deserve high protection. Few people were careful about what to share with whom, what to publish and where, and how to deal with incoming digital requests.
Others are slowly waking up in a digital nightmare, wondering where it all went wrong.
My prognosis is that 2009 is going to be a year of “unpublish,” “unlist” and “unfriend.” A year in which people will scale down the enthusiastic openness with which they hurried themselves and their families into Flickr, YouTube, Facebook and the like.
Because, yes, there is a difference between a “digital” friend and the normal notion of “friend.” Because Facebook labels contacts as “friends” does not necessary mean it is wise to share life, data and all pictures blindly with the hundreds of people on your list. Would you share your half-naked pictures with all the people in your business contact list? With all the people on the mailing list of your company? So why are they open and unprotected on your Facebook account?
And the millions of very revealing pictures on Flickr? Tanned girlfriends on sunny beaches, drunken in-laws, sweaty karaoke sessions…. all to share with colleagues? And though I love cute babies, finding unprotected pictures of the helpless things draped on their innocent sheepskins on MySpace accounts and other sites makes me extremely uneasy. Do people not realize everyone is watching?
Tread with care. The Web is a social place. It’s not a protected area where you meet only friends. Choose carefully what to share. Protect your intimate life, your dignity, your reputation and your loved ones.
Once it’s online, it is in the open. Pretty much forever. On the Web, “un-anything“ is a myth.