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Private vs. Public in Social Networking, Research Paper Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1035

Research Paper

In today’s world, information can be spread quickly and easily using the web and social media sites. Information sensitivity or the control of access to information becomes a very important issue. When having information stored someplace on the internet most likely other people will be able to see it. This can become a problem when it comes to your personal information, trade secrets, or even your first grade photos. Being aware and vigilant about who can see your information is the first step towards protecting yourself.

Public information is information that can be viewed by anyone, anywhere, any place. Let’s take for example Facebook, when you post something such as your location, photos or information it is all considered public information, because any of your friends can it. If you don’t have the correct security settings on your Facebook account, not only can your friends but even people you don’t know can see your information. It is important to be aware of this especially when looking for a job, employers may look up your Facebook account, and you wouldn’t want anything posted that can hurt your chances of being hired. “Some states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, North Dakota and New York, have laws that prohibit employers from disciplining an employee based on off-duty activity on social networking sites, unless the activity can be shown to damage the company in some way.”

Private information is referred to as the information that can only be seen by yourself and whoever else you choose to see it. Let’s go back to the Facebook example, when you post something there is a security setting where you can only allow one of your friends to see your posts. If I wanted to make a post for my girlfriend’s eyes only, that post would be considered private information. However keep in mind that “Social networks themselves do not necessarily guarantee the security of the information that has been uploaded to a profile, even when those posts are set to be private.”

“We define social networks as a website that allows people to (1) create a public or semipublic profile, (2) articulate a list of users with whom they share a connection with, and (3) view and traverse their lists of connections and those made by others within the system.”

The first social networking site was launched in 1997, under the name SixDegrees.com. SixDegrees allowed users to make a profile and search for friends. To the right you can see a time line of the major social networking sites. Overall what has really changed in terms of how we define social networking is how much different information we can post on our profile. Today you can post anything from your current location, to photos, to game scores and even more directly to your profile. It can be a big issue for example, if someone gets your location who you don’t want to have, or even learns too much about you, such as your mothers maiden name.

When creating your social networking account, you want to make sure that your “friends” that you add to your friends list are actually people you know and can trust. When I got my first social networking account I added random people, which was such a bad idea because those “friends” can be someone who opens credit card under your name. The only friends that you should ever add to your social networking sites are people you know and trust in real life. This isn’t a for sure way to not get your identity stolen but it does reduce your chances dramatically.

Your information may not even be secure from the government, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act which was passed in 1986 before the internet become main stream of information allows government officials (with a subpoena) to gain access to servers where your information is stored. There is currently a proposed updated which would increase the requirement officials must present before gaining access to your information.

What you chose to post on your social network sites are very important, you want to always be aware of any damages your post may cause, either to you or someone else. If your post can hurt anyone, physical, mentally, or their identity it should never be posted. It is also important to not post you or your family’s full birth dates, relationship status, current location, or even posts that state you are home alone. What you post on your social networking sites are really up to you, just be sure to try to limit personal information. Posts such as “I am bored at home all by myself in Northridge CA (With your current location)” is a bad example of what to post, try this instead “Board at my place (Without your current location)”

“Pictures of you naked at age two, A news flash about the recent break-up in your relationship, A listing of all the people who annoy or irritate you in class, Current information about your work or project, Nasty comments about your boss, co-worker, teacher or class mate, Status update while you are having dinner; on a date; in class; at work; studying, Note on your friends wall about a party you are in the process of organizing” are all great examples of what you should never, ever post on your Facebook.

Overall it is important to remember these simple steps when posting online, nothing is truly private, information, pictures, location that you wouldn’t trust with the whole world to see should never be posted. Keep in mind everything you have learned and always think twice before posting, because you never know whose watching.

Works Cited

“5 Things You Should Never Post on Facebook.” 5 Things You Should Never Post on Facebook. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 June 2013.

“Avi Rubin: All Your Devices Can Be Hacked.” TED: Ideas worth Spreading. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 June 2013.

Ellison, Nicole B. “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship.” Danah. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 June 2013.

“Facebook Security | Facebook.” Facebook. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 June 2013.

“Fact Sheet 35: Social Networking Privacy: How to Be Safe, Secure and Social.” Social Networking Privacy: How to Be Safe, Secure and Social. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2013.

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