In the years before Facebook, and even earlier-- like in the 1990's--back when we saw the Internet as a creepy place of chat rooms and stalkers, parents were warned not to let their kids sign in unsupervised. "Only to do homework, and that under watchful eyes."
Now those same kids are grown up parents of darling little kids, and they are online posting photos, names and ages of their children. Everyone is doing it, and yet it was really not so long ago that we were all worried about privacy issues. What happened that made these concerns go away?
And can we really trust Facebook, or Google (ha!) or any other online site with their spotty guarantees and frequently changing policies to guard our privacy for us? Of course not. Mainly since they're all in the business of collecting and sharing and selling information about their major product, which is us. Us and our kids.
I have to admit, I've not previously been concerned about privacy. My job was to get information out about my books, and to do that you've got to share a lot about yourself, not just as an author but as a person. Blogging itself opens numerous doors to one's personal world. Maybe at first one is careful but as time goes by, and online seems like such a nice safe and cozy little world, the guard comes down. More information is shared. Pretty much anything anyone wants to find out about a person is there.
What do you think? Should we be concerned? More careful about what we post and share? And if you've got any stories to tell about this topic one way or the other, please let us know. Because there's a little voice in the back of my head right now that's warning me to just watch it.
Here's an example and something that bothers me on so many levels:
My address is posted on the "white pages" or various other directories when you Google WiDo. I've never given out my home address as WiDo's business address, yet every PO box my husband or I have rented for any purpose (some even before we were involved with WiDo) shows up as WiDo's "address" on Google. When we moved houses our new address showed up as WiDo's "address."
The information is not only wrong-- WiDo's address is clearly posted on its website and has never changed in six years-- yet if my husband and I move or rent a PO Box, these addresses are what random online directories post for WiDo Publishing. I'd not only like to get the correct information out there, I'd like to know how to keep our private lives private!
What do you think? How can we blog and be involved on social media, oftentimes as part of our business marketing plans, and still maintain our personal privacy? Is it even possible? I don't think it is, but if anyone knows otherwise please share!