An addicted insider’s account of our real lives in the era of the realtime, social web.

Confession #16: I Never Tell Zuckerberg Anything

Over the past few months, Facebook has dramatically altered its privacy settings to make more of your information public by default (you now have to opt out to protect certain pieces of your profile). And as far as I can tell, not too many people have re-protected their information or photos.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed the loosening of privacy standards during a recent interview with Mike Arrington of TechCrunch:

“When I got started in my dorm room at Harvard, the question a lot of people asked was ‘why would I want to put any information on the Internet at all? Why would I want to have a website?’

“And then in the last 5 or 6 years, blogging has taken off in a huge way and all these different services that have people sharing all this information. People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.”

There’s no doubt that more people have been sharing (and oversharing) more information on the web. But does that alone suggest that people want less privacy? There are different kinds of information and different parts of one’s personality. Saying I have a blog and am therefore more comfortable sharing photos of my kids is like saying that because I opened the front door for the UPS guy, I’m probably also cool with him secretly installing a webcam in my shower.

We all have different aspects of ourselves that we are willing to share or not share. I tell some stuff to you. I tell more personal stuff to my wife. I share deeper secrets with my shrink. I share the really horrific stuff with my friend Mordy. Meanwhile, my unconscious is sitting back saying, “Man am I glad you never tell anybody anything.”

Ultimately, Zuckerberg’s comments make one thing crystal clear. It’s going to be up to you to set your own privacy settings on your own information.


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My name is Dave Pell, internet superhero. This blog provides an addicted insider's account of what's happening to us in the era of the realtime, social web. You can read more about the site, grab the rss feed, follow me on twitter, join the Facebook page, or get email updates.