Even as we become more free with information about our lives, many of us are very aware that we have to be careful who is looking at it. According to a recent survey by the Pew Center Internet and American Life Project, young people are becoming more concerned with protecting access to their online identities as they become more open in their online communities. According to Pew, this apparent contradiction in behavior has been developing in social media user groups for a number of years and has become the new normal in the social sphere. While users are surprisingly free with the type of information they share, they are becoming more hands-on and sophisticated in how they control who can see that information.
“Social media” and “privacy” seem to be mutually exclusive terms. After all, tweeting a pic of you and your colleagues throwing yourselves into Karaoke after work or posting a rant about those idiots that run your neighborhood council on your Facebook wall are not exactly “private” activities. You are posting this stuff on the Web, after all.
Companies that maintain social media platforms are aware of the increasing sophistication of their users and are constantly tweaking their privacy approaches to balance their advertisers’ appetite for information with users’ desire for privacy. Our friends at Webroot did a handy comparison between the privacy practices of Google+ and Facebook, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each platform’s approach to allowing their users control what happens with their personal information.