Are social networks becoming a part of your life? Or have they been a part of your life? And now do they give you trouble and cause you to struggle? Do you still want to use them because it is so convenient to get connected with your friends or are you afraid to use it for the troubles you’ve been through?
One of my friends named Vicky comes from a developing country, but she was born in a rich family. Vicky has an overseas education background. After she finished her study, her family helped her get a good job in her country. However, most of her colleagues are from average families, they are conservative, and never willing to spend too much money on expensive items, let alone luxury brands.
Vicky has some western people’s habits due to her overseas living experience. For instance, she loves coffee, and always grabs a cup of coffee in the morning. One day, she bought a Starbucks coffee, and took a picture of it, then put the picture on her blog. She just wanted to show people her daily life, which she felt was kind of boring, calm, and routine. Starbucks coffee is expensive, especially in developing countries. For her colleagues, drinking such expensive coffee is totally unacceptable. No one wrote nasty comments on her blog, instead, they gossiped about her drinking Starbuck coffee in private. This affair made her very stressed for quite a long time.
The boom in social networks ususally is fed by proactive participators, and it also can be described as a form of participatory user-generated content. Most content we see on social networks are based on user’s uploads and shares. On the one hand, content connects people and their friends more strongly than ever before, and causes people to become more informed. On the other hand, social network based on people’s share of their daily life stuff makes users more exposure. Sometimes people cannot stop others who they do not want to know their privacy to see it. Even though there are settings that provide people to choose their preferred approach of sharing, but there is still a chance to leak their privacy. All these settings have done is to minimize the opportunity of leaking. It will never give the users a 100% guarantee that their privacy will never be known by people they do not like cause the original purpose of uploading or writing is sharing information. This is why some people choose not to use social network even under the condition that they can set the particular person that cannot visit their homepage.
In order to cater to diverse audiences and attract more people to join in social networks, social networks changed formats based on language, the interests of the public, entertainment requirements, and so on. All these things are making people’s lives much easier. Some people become popular on social networks by updating and sharing their information. Sometimes, you don’t have to look up the news, and you still know what happened by watching the shared contents and links. The dialogue section allows people to text each other without any charges. All social networks are working with the effort of satisfying users’ demands. However, all these efforts still cannot stop attacks like what my friend Vicky went through.
Privacy issues are annoying people who are willing to use social networks, even though a lot of efforts have been put into protecting people from being attacked either in terms of data privacy for properties or in terms of content privacy for users’ feelings. It is obviously not good enough given what has happened to Vicky. Besides, privacy issues are affecting the content which people are willing to share, some content people do really care may not be shared for consideration of privacy. This is decreasing the reciprocal actions among friends.
Social networks do have progresses in data privacy protection, and it seems all the social network runners are trying to do their best to improve the privacy security. In my friend Vicky’s case, only improved technology is far enough to protect people’s privacy; moral issues should be talked about when it comes to privacy protection. Morals rather than technology are the root reason that privacy should be protected.