It didn’t set well with me when Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook stated people are becoming more comfortable with sharing personal information online, thus basically giving up their privacy.

But when I read how Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google referred to Google+ as an “identity service” bells went off in my head. It’s not that I have a problem using my real name online, but it does make me wonder why it’s so important to Google.

Let’s face it, social networking sites are database gold mines filled with all kinds of information advertisers and/or governmental agencies would love to get their hands on.

The sad part of it is, we voluntarily fill those databases.

Today’s Lesson

In a previous lesson we talked about creating a digital footprint. We also discussed the importance of self-monitoring so what we share doesn’t lead to identity theft.

When we look at it as US creating a digital footprint, it sounds like we’re in control.

However, when we become aware others may be using the information we share on social networking sites to “profile” us, it feels like the tables are turned.

Let’s take a look at a sampling of how we provide demographics and psychographics with what we share.

We disclose our sex (gender) and marital status. If we have kids, we often say how many, plus their ages. We write about our likes and rant about our dislikes. We say where we live, talk about our jobs, our favorite foods, hobbies and the sports team(s) we follow. Some go as far as sharing their birth date (age) and anniversaries, too. Based on who we follow, our religious and political preferences become obvious. Some of us share our routines, where we go and how we got there (mode of transportation).

We share photos of ourselves, friends and children and write about our insecurities and our accomplishments.

In other words, we’re voluntarily profiling ourselves and offering the information for free while others are may be profiting from our ignorance trustworthiness.

When I look at it that way, I find it disturbing. But when I think of what I share as building my digital footprint, I feel I’m in control.

But am I?

Are you?

Today’s Assignment

Knowing what you share online could be used to profile you, will you change what, how and where you communicate online?

Care to share?

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  1. Barbara,

    For a lot of the reasons you discuss in the post, I was always somewhat reluctant to do much online, which is why I only started blogging a few months back, a latecomer to that party.

    As a finance and treasury person, we see our share of attempted identity theft and fraud attempts, so the risk is very real.

    However, a web-connected, socially networked world is a reality that is not going to go away, so we need to balance the concerns, draw boundaries, and make sure we are clear about what we are sharing and what we will not.

    Thanks for raising our awareness!
    Check out David K Waltz’s awesome post.Does Your Accountant Speak “Finance”?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome David,

      I agree. Social networking is still in its infancy, as is blogging, so anyone who wants to be a part of this online world must, as you put it, be “clear about what we are sharing and what we will not”.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Who Is Social Networking REALLY Benefiting?My Profile

  2. Hi Barbara – There are many valid concerns about loss of privacy from using online communications methods like blogging and social media. The trade-off, as David mentions, should be an assessment everyone makes.

    Unfortunately, sometimes those making an assessment to strictly limit their privacy could be shooting themselves in the foot, especially if they’re unfamiliar with the implications of those privacy settings: e.g. the person you know in real life who follows you on Twitter, but has protected their updates; or the person on Facebook who doesn’t allow friend requests. Why be there at all if you’ve set things up to limit interaction so severely? Be aware of the impacts of controls, and keep on top of the constant changes.

    The aspects I’m more concerned with are personal vs. business contacts, and the amount of information to process. Scaling back the number of contacts on Facebook and restricting others to reduce an uncomfortable (for me) level of response from certain enthusiasts feels right to me now. I left Twitter alone – I don’t have time to go there at all. I also eliminated “gurus” and prolific posters who clogged things up in G+ – if I really need to pick up what they’re throwing down, well, they’re famous and I’m sure their stuff will get to me somehow. :)
    Check out Betsy Wuebker’s awesome post.Making Money Online: Be the Tortoise, Not the HareMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Betsy,

      You’ve raised some valid points. Staying on top of all of the changes is very important, as is assessing who we “friend” and/or follow.

      I like your idea of scaling back on the number of contacts you choose to communicate with. Although some may feel it’s better to have a big following, with that comes tons of updates, which can waste a lot of of our time as we sift through them all.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.If We Met In the Real WorldMy Profile

  3. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    What concerns us most often are the friends and family who really don’t seem to understand that what they say and do online is going to be there in some form and fashion forever.

    “I’m bored.”

    “If you love me, you’ll…”

    “You @#*$&^!”

    The last few weeks, I’ve had little time to check in on social media and I’m sure when our routine is back to normal, one exception will be the social media, for me. I’ll still use it, but it’ll be a lower level priority than before.
    Check out Mike Goad’s awesome post.I tripped over a big rock!–and ended up seeing lots of stars!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      I hear you. And speaking of friends and family, I worry about the young ones (grandchildren) who publish their every move including photos, not realizing there are a lot of sickos online.

      Social media has it’s place, and like you, I find it’s becoming a lessor priority.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Baby StepsMy Profile

  4. I watched the movie “The Social Network” last night on DVD, and my answer to the question in the title of your blog post is:Mark Zuckerberg is benefiting from FB.
    Check out Vered DeLeeuw | blogger for hire’s awesome post.Introducing: Healthy RecipesMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      I want to see that movie. I’ll bet Mark’s story is fascinating. And yes, even though he keeps Facebook free, it’s obvious he’s the biggest benefactor.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.NextMy Profile

  5. Kyle JohnsonNo Gravatar says:

    “gold mines filled with all kinds of information advertisers and/or governmental agencies would love to get their hands on.”

    You hit the nail on the head. When I hear people complain about a Facebook update, I kindly remind them that they are not the customer – they are the product. The advertisers are solely responsible for keeping something like Facebook free.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kyle,

      I wish I had said that, “they are not the customer – they are the product.” It’s easy to forget social networking sites have their own agenda and those who use them, are “responding” just as the advertisers hope.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Blogging Pet Peeve Number OneMy Profile

  6. LorieNo Gravatar says:

    Hello again Barbara, another thought provoking lesson.

    I have come to the conclusion that privacy is not something that actually exists anymore. All of my vitals are out there somewhere for someone to find if they want to look hard enough. Facebook certainly makes it easy for those who want to gather information but I don’t believe social networking is necessary for the determined identity thief.

    There are certain levels of information that can still be protected. For example, it is dangerous to post things like vacation plans on Facebook.

    I try not to post very emotional or highly personal things online because they can’t be taken back and they are really the only truly private things left.

    Will I change the way I post? No. I don’t do much with social networking anyway.
    Check out Lorie’s awesome post.Dear Homeschool Graduates…My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lorie,

      You’ve raised a good point. If we share all of our emotions and all aspects of our life, we’re basically giving up the rest of our privacy. It’s one thing to share what we’ve learned in blog posts, but I don’t think it’s necessary to bare all on sites like Facebook. And I wonder why some people do…..
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Become a Blogging Phenomenon in HoursMy Profile

  7. JoychristinNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with Mike..all that I engage in online leaves a trail for the future..so I am mindful about what I choose to share, just as I am mindful offline. I am also as careful online about divulging personal/private information, as I am offline. We assume it is only marketing affiliations and corporations profiling us..while it is actually *anyone* collecting that information.
    Check out Joychristin’s awesome post.Experiencing Botanical EfflorescenceMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Joy,

      You’re right. We don’t know who might be collecting information on us, therefore, as you mentioned, it is very important we are mindful what we share. As easy as it is to hit the “publish” or “submit” button, at times it might be better if we rethink what we’re about to share with the world, and possibly stay silent.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.How to Build a Blog CommunityMy Profile

  8. susanNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! Great topic. I am usually shocked at the information people just pop out there – not to mention twitter about. Maybe I’m old school but I just don’t think it’s “proper”. The “illusion” of having “friends” on things like Facebook – I mean how do people define “friend”?

    I share a lot in the way of my passions about health and wellness but very little about myself, my life and no photos – except a few on Facebook, but not on my blog. I don’t air personal problems either, which seems to be a great venue for some people. I keep that stuff for my journals – where old school people do I guess. I don’t know – it’s a strange world out there and I chose not to participate in the personal details part of it.

    I will share that my server went down today – or something? A call in to my tech guy and hopefully all will be well. Trying not to panic :)
    Hugs
    Susan

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Susan,

      Yes. It is a different world “out there” and for those of us who learned the “old school” ways, it’s eyeopening to see such a difference in how things are shared, and with whom.

      The one thing that bothers me is when rude things are said online. Even though the parties may make up, the words remain forever.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Your Blog is UglyMy Profile

  9. Wise EarsNo Gravatar says:

    I have to think about this one for awhile. I am attempting to be careful and just advertise my posts on twitter, because I can not keep up…Facebook well, there too I am not there everyday but it does help me stay connected – my related family is very far away and we share behind the scenes a lot there.

    I am attempting to get my new business blog out there – and discovered….I am not doing very well…

    I feel left behind by being so slow at this technical world – maybe I share too much…but I think one would find that I share the same in my teaching positions and other work situations…I am just me…

    I always ask myself “who is on my payroll?” and I find lots of new information all the time…but I find it hard all this profiling stuff…like Wise Ears is on Google page 1 #9 slot for Tim Brownson’s search… but it is #1 page 1 on my search…What does this mean? If I am attempting to get new people to my sites, will they not find me if I do not fit their profile? Hmm
    more stuff to learn Thanks for helping us think this thru Barbara
    Check out Wise Ears’s awesome post.Listening Skills – Where have they gone?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Patricia,

      Being careful is most important. I think if remind ourselves the whole world could be reading our words, we’re more apt to self monitor. That said, in order to get our name “out there” we can’t stay silent, either.

      Gaining name recognition, whether for our blogs or our online businesses takes time. Hang in there Patricia and keep letting others know what you do.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Baby StepsMy Profile

  10. Hi Barbara
    You’ve raised very interesting topic. I agree that a lot of people provide social networks with the information that is quite intimate. For example. our religious preferences, political views. But at the same time it’s up to a person whether to provide this info or not. And you may provide not the correct information but some out-of-your-head info. Thus I wouldn’t trust the info in the social networks. But they certainly can give you a clue.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Andy,

      That’s true. We do have to remind ourselves just because we’ve read something online doesn’t necessarily make it true. It’s important to consider the source plus do homework on our own to validate the facts.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Your Blog is UglyMy Profile

  11. ShailjaNo Gravatar says:

    Social networking sites are built to make the people stay connected with their friends and their family. But at the same time these sites also provide different features for privacy setting and one must be aware about it. Apart from this you need to keep your personal information in moderation as the information can be accessed by any unknown person.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Shailja,

      Isn’t that the truth? Although it is fun to connect with friends and family on sites like Facebook, there are some items which should be shared behind the scenes and not put “out there” for the whole world to see/read.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.NextMy Profile

  12. maxNo Gravatar says:

    Well i have been telling alomost the same things to my friends, so they shouldnt give much information about them on social networks. they wont even get me by google +. i have deleted my account on facebook and dont regret about this.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Max,

      Some people just don’t want to hear what can happen if they share too much on social networking sites. Although nothing bad may transpire, your advice to your friends is solid.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.If We Met In the Real WorldMy Profile

  13. In these days there is lot of social networking sites but some of very famous like facebook. these sites so help to connect the peoples and friends each other.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Trudy,

      Yes. Facebook is the most popular of the social networking sites and although it allows us to re/connect with friends and family, we should use caution.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Your Blog is UglyMy Profile

  14. Social Networking is beneficial for those who are using for advertising and promotions. They get good benefits out from social networking and ROI is also increased.

  15. Allen WalkerNo Gravatar says:

    This is an interesting topic and you have highlighted the side effects of using the social networking sites as many people nowaday dont talk/know about. You are right we just share our information on social networking sites like no problem upload pictures of our family and friends and what we are doing in our routine life in simple words these sites know everything about us from A to Z. First people went crazy about myspace then orkut then comes the Facebook and now Google+ and in few months some other famous site will start their own social networking site. Seriously nowadays people have nothing to do on internet other than updating their status on facebook and check whats happening in the life of their friends and share photos etc.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Allen,

      I think you’re on to something. With it being so easy to upload photos and make comments via apps on our phones or computers, some people aren’t even thinking about how what they share could be used against them, but instead may be thinking how cool it is to be able to instantly update their status.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.How to Build a Blog CommunityMy Profile

  16. Clommo TrustNo Gravatar says:

    I was using social networking site like facebook and twitter to get online friends to share with because I can say anything with them without hesitation but now I think to start my real life.
    Check out Clommo Trust’s awesome post.You’re Luckier Than You Think And Yes It`s True!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Clommo Trust,

      I agree. It’s more important to live our real life than it is to spend countless hours on social networking sites which may not have any benefit at all.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Peek-a-Boo – I See YouMy Profile

  17. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. not having kids has helped keep me away from too much social media .. I’m happy to share what I want to share – but not with every Tom, Dick and Harry .. so inadvertently I’ve a reasonably clean slate ..

    I can see the value for business .. and I guess for family – but as I don’t have much .. that makes life easy. There’ve been a great many changes recently and are still going on with FB, G+ and probably Twitter .. do we understand it all = No.

    I wouldn’t blog personal stuff .. or be too opinionated … Social Media really benefits Advertisers et al who can use the info for their $ aspects … ie the information from the milling masses who don’t understand …

    There will always be those who can take advantage and I hope some us will be able to too .. without losing out in the process .. and benefit from the Social Media $s that can be tapped into ..

    Cheers Hilary

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Hilary,

      That’s a good point. For those who don’t have children, learning about social networking sites may either never happen or can come slower – which can be beneficial.

      Definitely. There is value to be had being a part of social networking sites and if we can learn how to use them to OUR advantage, we’ll be the ones right up there with the advertisers, [hopefully] driving traffic/income to our sites/businesses.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.If We Met In the Real WorldMy Profile

  18. vhienNo Gravatar says:

    This is disturbing in a view that people might use my personality or profile information to earn or fool other people. But I think, FB is widely known for connecting people.For me, Connecting means being true in what you posts and what you say in your social media accounts. I guess, being responsible enough and aware of the risk in trusting many people is primarily the best security solution in your doubt about sharing your profile information in public.
    Check out vhien’s awesome post.Two-vehicle accident in Iowa County sends several to hospitalMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vhien,

      Yes. It is disturbing, knowing others may be taking what we share to profile us and possibly our friends and family. But, that’s also part of being able to use a service like that for free.

      That’s a good point. We do need to be responsibly enough and know the risks prior to sharing information which can become public beyond our circle of friends.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Blogging Pet Peeve Number OneMy Profile

  19. Great post. Thank you for keeping us thinking. In a nutshell, I believe people DO have access to way too much information that we as consumers volantarily offer. I recently didn’t want to give out my email address at a school function, and wouldn’t you know it? I got spammed. In the last fifteen years since I have had email, I have changed my email address three times. Maybe that’s the key?

    Keeps us on our feet, doesn’t it?!

    Julie
    Check out Julie @ jbulie’s blog’s awesome post.And we are off to the races.My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Julie,

      I’m glad you brought up email addresses. That’s something else we willingly give up. And phone numbers, too.

      How smart of you to say “no”. Even though you got spammed, you knew you had to option to change your email address and move forward.

      Yes. It does keep us on our feet. :)
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Baby StepsMy Profile

  20. Thank you for asking the question everyone else feels happy to ignore. The Netherlands has recently employed the services of a digital company to trawl over social media sites snooping on social welfare claimants. Phrases such as “holiday” “new car” “honeymoon” etc are all being recorded and investigated. I have also heard of financial services companies starting to do the same

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Brian,

      Why doesn’t that surprise me? It’s just a matter of time before other agencies/governments will be doing the same. With sites like Facebook having all of that information in one database, who’s to say they won’t be subpoenaed to share what’s there?
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Who Is Social Networking REALLY Benefiting?My Profile

  21. VictoriaNo Gravatar says:

    You are right, we, who think that we are customers of these Social Networking Sites, are not customers at all. We are used by these sites to sell more information to those who are interested. If we put our interests in our profiles, there also appear marketing ads at the side of the window some related interests which we can relate to. This is how they work.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Victoria,

      That’s true. If “they” ask a question, we willingly answer. Not only do we share items such as gender, but we’re also sharing the books we read, TV programs we watch and other interests we have. Advertisers are smart. Like you said, they farm that information and then have it placed in our pages – hoping we’ll click and buy.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Who Is Social Networking REALLY Benefiting?My Profile

  22. The “identity” stuff doesn’t bother me quite so much as the inability to make the profile private. That’s a lot of personal info to have public on the internet. When did that become the thing?

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Annie,

      I think it’s almost like we’ve been slowly brainwashed (for lack of a better word). Some sites claimed our privacy was their biggest concern, but I think when they start seeing dollar signs, their interests (in the money) becomes greater than our privacy.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Blogging Pet Peeve Number OneMy Profile

  23. jessicaNo Gravatar says:

    Social Networking sites are created to build friendship and to continuously connect with people you want to communicate with. I guess, every user just have to be responsible on what things to share on their profile. We just have to be cautious, I guess.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jessica,

      I think in the beginning, that’s what social networking sites started out to be, but once the creators of those sites realized how the information we voluntarily share could be sold, their original plan went out the window. Yes. Caution is key.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Peek-a-Boo – I See YouMy Profile

  24. JosephNo Gravatar says:

    One thing I never quite understand is why it’s so bad to recieve the targeted advertising that Facebook ends up giving up from the information people put on facebook profiles…surely targeted advertising is better than lots of pointless and irrelevant things?

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Joseph,

      That’s true. Targeted ads are better than ads which display something we may not be interested in. Plus, we don’t HAVE TO click on them.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Commenting Know HowMy Profile

  25. D. HeathNo Gravatar says:

    I think that social networking is hyped up too much for the average user. However I’ll still try to embrace it. I’m not really concerned about my privacy but I am concerned about my time. So for now I’m going to focus more on my blogging & business ventures instead of using it for personal reasons.
    Check out D. Heath’s awesome post.Choosing the Best Domain Name, Niche and Social Networks for Your BlogMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi D. Heath,

      You’ve raised a good point. If we socialize on places like Facebook or Twitter, we need to ask ourselves if it’s bringing us closer to our goals or not. I know for me, although I enjoy the interactions with my online friends, like you, I’m also aware of the time it entails.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Commenting Know HowMy Profile

  26. GenieNo Gravatar says:

    There then goes the problem of over-sharing, the tagging. I experience once, my former fiancée got me to thinking of splitting the engagement. I saw the scandals via pictures. This example really is not good. There then comes the transparency. The good thing is people are aware, but how about the desires of a person whom you are acquainted just blurted out? Then decisions, criticism and judgement takes toll on the person/s involved. I do not know how would social media would counter such “disasters”. Moderation? But where is freewill?
    Then again, Miss Barbara is correct, “Social networking is still in its infancy, as is blogging.”
    Thanks Miss B. :)
    Happy Blogging!
    Genie
    Check out Genie’s awesome post.lifecell reviewsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Genie,

      I hear you. Social networking entries can result in virtual train wrecks. Even though we may self monitor what we post, we have no way of controlling what others are saying about us. Like you mentioned, we can monitor and possibly un-tag some posts and photos, however if our acquaintances are super active on those sites, it could end up feeling like a full-time job.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.How to Build a Blog CommunityMy Profile

  27. I remember that excellent post on privacy, Barbara. I have my blog linked automatically to Twitter, Yahoo, Linkedin, etc, but I seldom post on Twitter, never on Yahoo or Linkedin. There’s very little private information on those sites about me. I’m still lost and uncertain over any personal benefit via Twitter.

    Face Book – again, I’ve given limited personal information and I do pay attention to privacy settings and changes that certainly do nothing for me. I love FB for family and finding old friends. I am happy it exists for these reasons.

    However, where I notice I’ve been “tailed”? When I search for some article on google, ads for that product crop up everywhere and on every video I watch for ages. I checked out a type of camera recently and that’s all I see. It’s so noticeable to me because I am not a big consumer. Most of my google use is research for information, not products.
    Check out Amy@souldipper’s awesome post.The Custodians of A New ConsciousnessMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Amy,

      That’s smart of you – to limit what personal information you share on Facebook AND pay attention to the privacy settings.

      I know what you mean about the ads which appear after we’ve searched for something. Just last week I was researching welders for our business, and on every site I visited after that, there were ads for welders. I ended up clearing my cookies and the ads have now gone away. It’s maddening though, isn’t it?
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.NextMy Profile

  28. It is pretty amazing how much information we willingly hand over to these giant companies; its just that we don’t think of it in those terms — it seems like we’re just showing our friends and family these various stats, but we’re also showing giant companies. I don’t think anything particularly sinister is going on right now but we’re paving the way for something terrible down the road.
    Check out freddy finallyfast.com’s awesome post.How to Handle Jealousy in the WorkplaceMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Freddy,

      Yes. We do give away a lot of information about ourselves. Your comment also reminds me of how if we’re asked a specific question when filling out our profiles, we feel we need to fill in the blank. When in truth, we don’t.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Become a Blogging Phenomenon in HoursMy Profile

  29. JohnNo Gravatar says:

    Well thanx a lot Barbara. I had never thought of social networking to be such a risk to one’s personal information. In any case, I have always preffered to stay away from these social networking sites and share my thoughts on blogs instead.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome John,

      Leaving our thoughts or even personal information on blogs does feel less intrusive, doesn’t it. On sites like Facebook or Twitter the information is loaded into massive databases, whereas it’s unlikely a blog owner would take what we share and use it to build a profile of us.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.How to Build a Blog CommunityMy Profile

  30. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    I understand the appeal of social networking sites but I do feel that you can give away too much information on them.

    You can always email photos and other information. And Picasa has a setting that allows you to keep your photos private or to have them available for only those you want to see them.

    There are so many other options available for sharing stuff online. Just thought I’d chime in with my two cents.
    Check out Chase March’s awesome post.Spicebush Trail at Rondeau Provincial ParkMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Chase,

      That’s true. If we want to share information or photos with others, we have options other than social networking sites. What I think is “they” make it so easy to share information or photos, many people automatically see it as a “one stop shop” without thinking about potential consequences.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Blogging Pet Peeve Number OneMy Profile

  31. I agree with you Barbara “In other words, we’re voluntarily profiling ourselves and offering the information for free while others are may be profiting from our ignorance trustworthiness. ” These companies are making TONS of money with our info. Also I don’t trust some websites that say “we won’t share your email!” That’s bull! There were a couple of times when I had to give my personal email address to a website and a couple days later I got so much spam it was unreal. After that happened I made two email addresses. If I’m iffy about a website then I give them my secondary email address. I don’t care if they spam that one :) We definitely have to watch what we do with our information online.
    Check out Marketing a nightclub’s awesome post.AfterlifeMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Marketing a Nightclub,

      Yes. We do need to be careful.

      I’ve had the same thing happen to me with regard to having an email account spammed. It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Especially when we trust our information is secure, only to find out it’s been shared or sold.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Commenting Know HowMy Profile

  32. letempspasseNo Gravatar says:

    Blogging, tweeting, talking to a new acquaintance or just walking to school… Isn’t it curious how fear has become an integral part of every decision we make? Everywhere you turn, you must beware of strangers lurking in the shadows, waiting to steal your belongings, your identity or your very soul…. Strange society we have become.
    Check out letempspasse’s awesome post.If You Could Know The Specific Day of Your Death, Would You Want To?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Letempspasse,

      I agree. It’s a different world than it used to be.

      Fear can enter the picture, however I think if we’re careful with what we share and are informed consumers with regard to what these free sites might/could do with our information, we can still benefit from them.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Baby StepsMy Profile

  33. Jeremy SmithNo Gravatar says:

    I thought I was the only one who was not comfortable with sharing information online. I find this sort of disturbing that now we have to use our real names every time we create an email or an account and they have to verify it with your phone number. Heard that the time line added on Facebook will now even give information on which sites you’ve been visiting. Sort of scary, privacy is no longer valued anymore.
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jeremy,

      The way I see it is if we have a twinge of uncomfortableness about what we share online, we’re at least sharing with our eyes wide open. What concerns me more than that is seeing how some people throw caution to the wind don’t even self monitor what they say/share.

      I noticed Facebook is coming out with a new “time line” feature but don’t know much about it. Makes me wonder, will it be “mandatory” we switch over or can we continue on with their current format?
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  34. VeraNo Gravatar says:

    It’s very easy to just start typing in all kinds of personal information without really thinking about. I remember one of the now defunct Sun Microsystems CEOs at the timesspeeches where he basically said “There is no privacy, get over it!” – He was tongue in cheek telling us that we really can’t trust the corporations we are supplying information to, and I think he is right. But I think back to the paper phonebook that had your name, address and phone number for all to see in print – is this really any different? I use paypal and VISA to buy stuff online – but I always have to disclose name/address and a lot of stuff that could be used fraudently against me. I think Scott McNeally was right. There’s no privacy! I guess I’m over it?

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vera,

      That’s true. Short of the thoughts we keep in our head, there’s not much privacy left.

      Phone books a great example of what was probably the start of it. First it was our name, address and phone number and when the world wide web emerged it has expanded to public records, as well.

      Now with blogs and social networking sites, it’s not what others are sharing about us, but what we willingly put out there. Although we have the choice to self monitor, we don’t have control of what others might say/share about us.

      “Get over it” is good advice, but is advice which is hard to accept.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Commenting Know HowMy Profile

  35. Chris NewaldNo Gravatar says:

    I think Mike had a good point when he mentioned how things tend to stick to you forever online. Many of us have had friends or been in a position ourselves where we say something or do something online that we later regret. That bad day that became worse because we simply didn’t go to bed early. As for privacy, it’s gone. Social networking is merely the nail in the coffin but our loss started ages ago. Take a look at credit card companies who have exact records of where you shop, where and how often you dine out, and how you enjoy spending your money. Those are details that even Facebook doesn’t have.
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chris,

      Good point. When we think about how credit card companies compile information about our spending habits, how cell phone companies have access to our calls and text messages, plus what we’ve shared online in the past, social networking is just another data collecting source.

      Then if we envision someone having access to ALL of the information we’ve put “out there”, it’s easy to see how not only a profile could be built, but how our life is actually an open book. Kinda sad.
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  36. RalphNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    This is my first time visiting, and I must say I love the look and feel of your site, writing in a virtual notebook is a great idea.

    Your post scared me (in a good way) and I think you are exactly right. I’ve noticed that when I post on Facebook, ads start appearing that are related to my posts. In some sense, that is good business, but in another way, it makes you realize how much your data is being analyzed.

    I’m going to have to start thinking about my posts, and scaling back the info.

    Keep up the great work!

    American Composer Ralph Kendrick

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Ralph,

      Unfortunately it’s just not Facebook who analyzes our “habits’. So does Google as well as the other online giants.

      When you think about it, a lot of the services we use online are free, but they don’t get bigger and more profitable by recommendations alone. I’ll bet advertisers pay big bucks to know what we’re searching for as well as our like and dislikes.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Commenting Know HowMy Profile

  37. DaveNo Gravatar says:

    After I read this, just for fun, I did a search in G with just my email address to see what kind of footprint I have been leaving – Chris Newald made a good point, I’ve got forum posts going back to the 90′s for all the world to see. It’s nothing bad, it’s largely technical, but posting stuff on the internet if you are having a bad day for example, may affect how future employers view you, even if they do something as simple as a search like that.
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dave,

      It is amazing, isn’t it? If we’ve put it “out there”, others can find it – no matter how long ago it was.

      I think knowing that is a good reminder for us to think before we hit “submit”/”publish”. Even though what we share today may not affect us now, down the road it could determine if we get a job or not.
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  38. PCPrimaNo Gravatar says:

    Personally, I would never post anything online that I would not share “freely” anyways. I do not understand how some people can document their every move, even when they are on vaccation. Great calendar for robbers I think. Even worse though is how many kids are on FB. I know kids as young as 6 having their own FB pages, some of which are not restricted!

  39. RyanNo Gravatar says:

    It does seem like things are getting out of control when websites like facebook are storing cookie data and collecting info on people that are logged out or sometimes not even facebook members themselves. Crazy times, so thanks for the tips.
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Ryan,

      Yes. It is getting crazy.

      I’ve read those articles too – about how Facebook is allegedly storing cookie data after we’ve logged out, but after reading that, I asked myself, “is it only Facebook or are we at risk no matter what we do/where we go online?” Unfortunately I’ve concluded “they” have access to our every move (online).

      It’s not like I have anything to hide, but in some ways it almost feels like we’re being stalked. :(
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Commenting Know HowMy Profile

  40. Jessica BloxNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks Barbara for sharing such information. It is really good to know all this.

  41. The thing that stands out to me most on Facebook for lack of privacy is the “check in” feature. Whoever uses it is basically leaving a trail of where they have been and what they were up to on any given day. I’m not sure I’d want everyone to know where I was, especially if that place was my home.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Trace,

      I hear you. The “check in” feature appears to be an invasion into our privacy. Make you wonder why “they” need that information.
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  42. robinsyedNo Gravatar says:

    Hi nice points to be quoted and There are certain levels of information that can still be protected. For example, it is dangerous to post things like vacation plans on Face-book.

    Huge list of Free online classified sites

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Robinsyed,

      Thank you for bringing that up. I remember reading an article how burglars love Facebook since so many people like to brag they’re going on vacation, without realizing they’re telling everyone else their house will be empty.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Baby StepsMy Profile

  43. People use facebook to promote things they sell, and I hate when stranger tagging me in their photo that have no relation with me

  44. Barbara,

    When i was reading this post, i felt a little bit, how do i say it…fearfull, i suddenly realised i had a lot and i mean a lot of information about me on my social media profiles. Maybe even info that can hurt me if someone with wrong intensions would get that information in his/her hands..

    Because of that, i want to thank you really much because i had not thinked about it a lot. I was a little bit careless in the beginning, or let me say; i did not think it could harm me, but i can, by someone with wrong intensions..

    So i want to thank you a lot for sharing this post with the public!!!! Thank you very much!!!

    Cheers,

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Mindmap Maken,

      I think it’s easy to over share our information and many of the social networking sites are set up so we can do just that. One good thing is we can go back and delete some of what we’ve shared so it can’t be currently viewed, however chances are we can’t remove it completely from the internet. :(
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  45. ericSNo Gravatar says:

    Hey Barbara,
    It is really true. Nowadays, most of the social sites are asking for your confidential information which regards your views, likes, and your desires on life. But it depends on you, If you really wanted to share that secrecy of yourself. Another great post.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Eric,

      Yes. It is up to us how much information we want to share. We just have to keep in mind, what we share online, stays online. :(
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Taking ResponsibilityMy Profile

  46. TinaNo Gravatar says:

    You know Barbara, I read this post of your with great interest. I remember when I first joined FB a friend of mine in France sent me all sorts of articles etc regarding where and how FB originated and who it was benefiting etc … A good close look “behind the scenes” like that made me think long and hard. I ended up deleting all the apps and games and “stuff” I’d started using on FB, so really cleaning it out.
    I use FB fairly consciously now. Because I travel a lot, I use it to initiate correspondence with family and friends and then we take it outside of FB. I also use it for business purposes. I’m a photographer, so if I have new images available for sale or a promotional code on calendars or I’ve found a brilliant write up on a new piece of kit etc etc, then I post to FB.
    Beyond that, I have certain lifestyle preferences which I am happy to be profiled on. I prefer a more conscious and greener lifestyle, organic, recyclable, socially conscious and responsible etc … These are values that I am more than happy for anyone and everyone out there to profile me on because I would like our collective as a human species to live more along those lines anyway.
    Beyond that, any personal information I share on the web, I would also share in everyday non-cyber life …

    So I think it’s about being aware … conscious … deliberate in one’s choices …

    Thank you for your post … thought provoking and of course wonderful to see the amount of discussion it has raised too :)

    ~ Tina

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Tina,

      How smart of you – to research what happens behind the scenes of social networking sites BEFORE proceeding forward.

      I like your idea of using these sites for your benefit; posting your photography or information which can benefit others as well as the world.

      As you mentioned, if we make conscious decisions as to what we share, we can be the beneficiary of what these sites have to offer.
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  47. mutuelleNo Gravatar says:

    Yes totally agree,if we can remember or google up facebook and its relation with governmental agencies especially CIA ,media and people had talked about spying program ” Big Brother”.I do advise friends to not fall in their trap,but look professional and wise when they have to share and discuss issues on it

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mutuelle,

      I’m with you. If we’re on social networking sites, it’s best to act professional. One never knows who might be reading what we share.

  48. mutuelleNo Gravatar says:

    Yes,there are clever people out there :)

  49. Social sites these days have a great impact over the success or failure of a business. You just cannot have a successful business till the time you do not have a presence online and at the same time do not market your products through these sites. Social networking will not only get you good customers for your business but also will help you to increase your overall sales and thus profit margins.

  50. Social networking is benefiting the businessmen and the marketers to a great extent. Social media sites like face book, twitter and LinkedIn have proved to be a great tool for the bloggers and other marketers to market their product well in the industry. Social networking helps in increasing the customers to your business and also helps you to get introduced to the biggest tycoons of the industry.

  51. Every person thinks differently and so it would be obvious that every person would make the use of social networking sites also in a very different manner. Some of us would only want to get connected to each other through social networking while the others would try to make out some profits from it. It actually depends upon everyone who is using it. Social networking sites are good for marketing as well as networking.

  52. I was never in touch with my school friends since the day I got shifted to a new place. It is only because of face book that I got a chance to get in touch with them. Hope face book remains forever. I think like me there would be many people who would want to get in touch with their friends. We all are the ones who are benefited the most.