One passage from It's Complicated by danah boyd that caught my attention was, "Many teens are happy to publicly perform their social dramas for their classmates and acquaintances, provided that only those in the know will actually understand what’s really going on and those who shouldn’t be involved are socially isolated from knowing what’s unfolding. These teens know that adults might be present, but they also feel that, if asked, they could create a convincing alternate interpretation of what was being discussed."
This passage illustrates the concept of social steganography, a strategy that teens often use to privately communicate. What I find interesting is that I have always been aware of the existence of this technique, even used it myself, but I had never realized that it was a form of steganography. Now, it seems quite obvious. When someone posts an "inside joke" or uses vague or special language that means something to a particular group but appears meaningless to everyone else, they are basically hiding a message in plain sight. Anyone with access to their online profile could see what they are putting out there, but only a specific target audience would understand what they are really communicating. Clearly, steganography has a much larger presence in everyday life than I previously thought.
As boyd explains, many adults often criticize teens for posting information publicly while also caring so much about their privacy. They see these things as acting against each other, but what they don't realize is that teens are very careful in deciding what they expose to the public. By using strategies such as social steganography, it is possible to have an easily accessible online presence while simultaneously maintaining control over who you share sensitive information with.