Saturday, January 21, 2012

Concerning Privacy and Reputation

A discussion topic in my Sociology class was in regards to the internet and social networking taking the place of communicating with loved ones.  The discussion was based on a study that shows a rapid decline over the last 20 years of people within the same household communicating about important topics.  My response was this:

If social scientists are reporting this to be true, I have no choice but to believe it.  I do however, feel that it is quite unfortunate and sad.  Communication used to be such a high valued skill as well as a favored pastime.  I think it is ironic that internet usage (especially with the invent of social networking) has been the link to lower levels of communication and social contact.  One huge point of the internet is quick and efficient communication, but apparently it is just making it easier for people to remove themselves from social contact because all the answers to their questions are at the tips of their fingers instead of ringing through their ears during a conversation. 
Although I am a huge fan of the internet and social networking of all sorts, I don't believe that these findings really apply to me.   I continue to make efforts to verbally communicate with friends and family.  Being that I live so far away from a lot of them, I use the telephone and snail mail as much as possible.  I have a blog that my family stays up to date with and we also talk about a lot of the stuff that I blog about in more detail on the phone.  Sites like facebook are tools for me to remember things more than they are for me to communicate. 
I think that these conclusions are just the opposite of inevitable.  I would have assumed that it would go the opposite way.  I would have thought that internet and other technologies would increase communications between friends ans family.  It obviously makes it easier to communicate and much faster, so where is the disconnect?  Perhaps it is in the fact that people can now communicate at any time in the blink of an eye and they are no longer communicating with the important people in their lives because they are stuck online communicating with strangers instead.

My professors then addressed me with her concerns:
"Renay, are you at all concerned about privacy issues in communicating with your family through blogs. Potential employers now routinely search for social network sites when they consider applicants, and I understand that through them, they are able to get a better sense of the person they are hiring (or decide not to)."

I think it is an idea that requires some thought.  Way too many people share entirely too much on the internet simply because they can.  However, I don't feel that I need to be concerned and this is why:

When I started blogging I laid some ground rules for myself.  Each time that I create a new post, I ask myself questions about it to make sure that it abides by my ground rules.  Here are a few questions I ask:
1-Does this post promote a positive image of myself, my friends, my family, and others around me?
2-Does this post in some way show my talents, skills, positive character attributes, good values and morals?
3- Does this post share too much with the world that might be construed as too much information or unnecessary?
4- If necessary, does this post give credit to others who have inspired me, to people I have quoted, or to artists that I have shared?
5- I'm I proud to display my name next to this post?
My family is a very conservative Christian/Catholic family whom I have a great deal of respect for.  They know that I drink alcohol on occasion, smoke cigarettes, live with my boyfriend, and even curse (a horrible habit I picked up in the military), but I don't blog about these things out of respect for them.  I instead blog about art I have created, books that I have read, goals that I have, decorating our new house that we bought, things that inspire me, photo-shoots I have had, and things of that sort.  If I do share about a party I've hosted or a crazy adventure I have had, I make sure that all photos are tasteful, the language is appropriate for my grandmother to read, and again that it meets my ground rules. 
I work in a very small and specific field where most of the people that do the same thing throughout the country, wither know each other, work with someone that knows someone else, or have heard of someone.  In addition to that I hold a secret government issued civilian security clearance, so I know that my reputation is on the line perhaps more than most people.  However, I refuse to let that hinder my creative goals and aspirations as a creative mind in the blogging and social networking world.  I simply take it into consideration each time I get online.
What are your thoughts on this topic?  How do you feel about sharing things on your blog?  do you have any ground rules that you have when blogging?  I'd love to hear from you.
Have a great weekend!!

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