With all the controversy lately over the government snooping into people’s private business through cell phone data and whatever else, (oh and this has been going on forever, at least since the early 2000’s so it’s not like this is new) people have been up in arms about their privacy and just who knows what about them. But in this day and age of social media, I can’t help but think that a lot of these people who are complaining about the government invading their privacy have no reason to speak. Think about it, in the past 10 years with the advent of sites like Friendster, Myspace and ultimately Facebook and Twitter, odds are if you have been or are on one of these sites then plenty of people outside of the government know a lot, if not all, they need to know about you. Take into account sites like WordPress itself or blogger where people essentially let the world into their thoughts and feelings, an open cyber diary for the most part, and a lot of people shouldn’t be worrying about the government knowing their business when everyone else already does.
Every now and then you’ll hear the story on the news of the employee fired by their company for calling their boss something they really shouldn’t be calling their boss on a public profile of their Facebook page. Or how someone said (or showed something) they shouldn’t have in a tweet that they later have to apologize for. We now live in a world where kids think nothing of putting their phone numbers and addresses to where they live on their Facebook pages. Where grown men and women put up pictures of themselves that they’ll probably regret a couple of years down the line on their instagram accounts. And of some people in general telling the world some of their deepest darkest secrets on a blog or youtube video. In the era of the cell phone with a camera that can take a more than decent picture, you can count on some stranger, or even worse, a friend or family member to out you doing something you didn’t want anyone knowing you were doing on whatever site they happened to belong to. As bad as that may seem, we live in an era where people willingly give up entirely Too Much Information on themselves. I was watching something on PBS not too long ago, I believe it’s called the Constitution USA or something like that. Anyway, the host on there was focusing on this very subject of how much information is too much. He winded up hiring a private investigator to see how much she could find on him since he wasn’t really a “public” person. Turns out most of what she found on him she didn’t have to look that hard for because it was out there in cyberspace in the guise of posts from family, friends and the like. Which brings me to my point, more now than ever it really isn’t hard for someone to find something on you if you’re just going to hand it to them on a silver platter, whether it be a future boss, future in-laws, or anyone who could have some considerable influence in what happens in your life.
Of course, I say all this on my own blog where I continually divulge voluntary information about myself all the time, so I’m just as guilty as everyone else, the irony isn’t lost on me. But I’ve known the power of information, particular that which you give about yourself for sometime. And every single thing I’ve said about myself, whether it be here, Facebook, my old myspace page, and my old forum days, I’ve made it a point to only give out information I want people to know, and to make sure that whatever I’ve said or say won’t come back to haunt me in the future. I’ve made a conscious effort in not saying things while angry or upset that may make a job interview incredibly awkward somewhere down the road. Aside from my rants about algebra, I usually try not to burn bridges I’ve yet to encounter. I’ve always kept it simple. Name, age, where I grew up, education and my email (and not even my primary one) is all you’ll get from me on that kind of level. Whatever stories from my past, or whatever thoughts or feelings I may feel like sharing, I tell in the hopes that others may learn from them or at least identify something in themselves from them in the hopes they know they’re not the only ones who may feel that way. And sometimes I just want to vent, or you know, give a review here or there. If people want their stories told to the world free and unedited then more power to them, but personally, there are things about my private life I intend to keep that way.