Cryptography

The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Tag: public

Social Media as a Brand

“Rather than asking themselves if the information to be shared is significant enough to be broadly publicized, they question whether it is intimate enough to require special protection. In other words, when participating in networked publics, many participants embrace a widespread public-by-default, private-through-effort mentality.” (Danah Boyd 62) It’s Complicated


The statement “public-by-default” resonates with me because as a teenager growing up in this time of social media and digital expansion, I know that everything that I post online is available to whoever wants to access it. Meaning that if I post something on Instagram or Twitter, I know the posts are going to be available to whoever clicks on my account either on purpose or by mistake. This knowledge makes me add another layer of thought to my posts because I have to anticipate about how people may interpret this information in a variety of ways but I don’t know if other teenagers take posting as serious as I do. I see social media as a way to brand myself and publish the parts of my life I think are important or cool, but I don’t see social media as a place to vent feelings, post private information, or controversial topics because as I said, that information is available to whoever wants it and the people who interpret it negatively will be quick to judge you as a person. If I’m posting something private online, I’m doing it through either Snapchat or in direct message with someone I trust. I feel like trust and privacy go hand in hand when it comes to the internet. When it comes to sharing sensitive information with people online or with people in general, the most secure way to do it is with people you trust. Using technology, it’s easy to hide behind a screen and screenshot or capture what’s being shared while remaining anonymous. While in an actual conversation about something private, it’s a little bit more difficult to share secrets and spread rumors without having an idea of where it all stemmed from.

In Public but Unpublic

In It's Complicated, boyd wrote: "there's  a big difference between being in public and being public... mere participation in social media can blur these two dynamics."

I especially like the author's analogy between a subway conversation and a social media post online. While both contents are in public, neither is being public. A subway conversation, while audible to those around, is meant to be private. Likewise, while a social media post is visible to all, it's meant to be private as well, or at least exclusively shared between only a few. While teenagers seem to understand and practice the concept almost unintentionally, adults struggle to grasp the ideology behind their actions.

Once social media emerged, it has become unstoppable. Teenagers, a generation facing the rise of such communication, face particular challenges in terms of personal privacy and social interactions. Humans share the need to be in public, be a part of a social group or a community. It's hard to maintain offline when interactions are occurring online. And the mere concept of social media - the ideology of a more open and interactive space - is blurring the line between what's accessible and what's private.

In traditional senses, inaccessibility equals privacy. If a diary is locked, parents would know its content is intended to be kept private. However, the same kind of physical lock has disappeared in the age of social media. Teenagers are relying on social conventions to lock their online presence, while parents are failing to follow such invisible rules.

The public-by-default mindset of social media makes it harder for teenagers to navigate their privacy. Because the social environment is so different online, it's easy to think that it has completely different rules when it comes to maintaining privacy. For instance, while almost no one would choose to broadcast a conversation in public, many would post such conversations online. Personally, I believe it might be due in part to the illusion-like nature of social media. While we know the content we post online are visible to virtually everyone, it doesn't feel like we have a full house of audience. The concept of everyone is different in social media from its traditional meaning.

The expression of privacy has changed; yet its core meaning and challenges haven't changed.

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