Saturday, February 13, 2010

Privacy On The Internet & The Classic Facebook Scenario

“Well Mr. Smith, we really enjoyed this interview. We would like to offer you the position, but first can you please explain these Facebook photos??” Does this really happen? I mean I guess I cannot discredit the impressive amount of idiots there are out there who have managed to find their way into this situation or worse, but I must say that don’t know anyone. And to be honest I don’t know of too many people who would care if their photos were shown. I came across a great post by Ben Casnocha on the death of privacy on the internet and the synthesis of all your persona's on the web.

It is important to pay attention to who expresses outrage at privacy scandals on popular web sites. When Facebook announced its new privacy settings in December the usual suspects (EFF and other Silicon Valley geeks) issued condemnations.

Did any mainstream user under age 30 give a shit?

Young people care the least about privacy. Or, if we're not proactively anti-privacy, we have at least stopped clutching to the illusion that real privacy is still possible:

I wrote a post last month that dealt with some of these same issues. In my post entitled Generation Y's Impact on the Military
the topic of secrecy was discussed. A snippet of that post is below.

"I think that Gen Y'ers more comfortable packaging themselves as one identity as opposed to a work person, an at home person, etc. They want to be respected for their ideas and contributions, not just for the appearance they present and for their ability to walk the line and live the status quo. Part of that process starts with the liberating practice of sharing information and experiences, and not necessarily just with those you know personally. Not everyone gets it, even in Generation Y. I know I still get comments and questions from friends about my blog all the time wondering why I put the time and effort in. But those who do get it are willing to bypass privacy for they feel that they don't have anything to hide and much to gain!"

Ben also discusses his take on the classic Facebook scenario I discussed earlier and I love his optimistic outlook not only on the chances of this scenario happening, but on the severity of the outcome if it in fact does happen.

All this notwithstanding being told countless times to reign in transparency and cover your private life...or else. Every college senior gets the "be afraid of Facebook, be very afraid" talk from career advisers who trot out examples of drunk photos costing students their jobs. This is overblown. For one, a would-be employer is seeking authenticity and honesty. If they're so stupid as to expect not a single somewhat embarrassing photo from years 12 - 21, you probably wouldn't want to work with them. In fact, a raw Facebook profile might just be the breath of fresh air that the hiring person is looking for after reviewing a hundred whitewashed uber-polished resumes.

I couldn’t agree more. I have never met Ben but I feel as though I have an identical outlook on this topic. I have drinks with friends all the time. I enjoy talking and getting together over food and a few tasty barley pops. Most people I have encountered on this earth enjoy it as well, and those who don't enjoy the drinking aspect do not frown heavily upon those who do. To assume that ever interviewer's gag reflex kicks in when they see a picture of a candidate having drinks is simply not realistic. If the person does have that reaction, you probably wouldn't enjoy their place of employment.

Any horror stories out there or different takes on the death of internet privacy in America's youth?


Jessica Wenstrom said...

Wow. Your Blogs Getting Big Time Now... advertisers and all...

Matt Bader said...

Haha yeah right!

Frank said...

I agree with both you an Ben. However, your a fidelity hiring manager recently talked with us...they are not the ones doing the Facebook and twitter searches, nut someone below them is. Unfortunately just like a resume, an applicant should scrub their social media for the job in which they seek employment. For example, if you're applying to the FBI maybe take some pictures of underage drinking off your Facebook. On the contrary, if applying to Google, show youth, enthusiasm, unique traits, etc