Understanding Your Exposure in a Social World

Embracing social networking means your privacy is dead.

While some will bristle at this notion, I contend if you spend long enough using social platforms you will ultimately reveal some if not all of the following:

  • Where you work
  • Where you live
  • Who you hang out with

Yes, you can use privacy controls and moderate what you share but if your goal is truly connecting with others you’ll find this strategy is often unsustainable and always limiting.

Facebook and Twitter have allowed us to share our daily lives in very intimate ways and these communities reward authenticity and openness. The risk means we are putting a ton of our lives in the public spotlight.

enemy2CNN recently posted, The internet and the ‘end of privacy’, where they profiled my friend LouisGray, @louisgray, and {gasp} published his phone number. For more read his followup and see the #endofprivacy tweetstream.

You might consider folks like Louis and I extreme cases but it doesn’t diminish the fact that many of you are trending this direction.

Individual social networking is a risk vs. reward equation.

The more you open up = the more opportunities to connect = the more most anyone can learn about you.

I love social networking and I can’t begin to list the amazing people and opportunities its brought into my life but I also understand my exposure. Heck I joined twitter to follow smart hackers and to this day I’m known by a pseudonym due to my initial notions of maintaining privacy.

What I discovered is that I liked the reward side of the equation and in the past 5 years I’ve done a complete 180, but I did it with full knowledge of how this data can be used.

You should be sharing from an informed perspective.

Be aware how all of this shared data can be used to profile you. I’m not an alarmist but there are bad folks in the world. Take your personal safety into consideration.

To give you an idea what digital profiling can produce watch this excellent presentation by @DaveMarcus, Director of McAfee Labs Security Research. He’s a hacker (on this blog that is a good word by the way) and he’s showing a roomful of hackers what he can learn with nothing more than twitter, geotagged tweets, and Foursquare checkins.

Hat tip to my man IronGeek for posting the video.

“The only privacy left is inside your head, and maybe that’s enough” – Jon Voight’s character in Enemy of the State

While you may not agree with the sentiment it isn’t far from being accurate.

2 responses to “Understanding Your Exposure in a Social World”

  1. Annat says:

    I think vulnerability vs. opportunity is THE ‘catch 22’ of today’s social networks. Great post!

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