I find “privacy” and the “internet” to be rather strange bedfellows.
Too often, these are married for an article or news story about how to protect yourself and your family along the information highway. They tend to go hand-in-hand in a very Odd Couple sort of way, and unfortunately, the pairing of online and privacy seems to more frequently revolve around evil deeds instead of good ones.
The issue of online privacy is something that I’ve given a lot of thought to. I’m a blogger. I use social media. I have kids. And I have – literally – thousands of friends, followers or other connections on Facebook and Twitter alone.
I’m also a big believer that if someone really wanted to find out something about me, they could.
Yet I’m not completely open about mine nor my family’s personal information.
I guess because I feel most comfortable somewhere in the “Public but not too Public” spot of the spectrum.
Earlier in my blog career, I was very against using my last name in my email address, for online profiles and on my blog. But as time went by, and I was featured in the newspaper for a blog-related event, planned to attend my first blog conference and then started a social media consulting business with another blog friend, I realized that keeping my last name out of the mix wasn’t very realistic.
There are still some pieces of the identity puzzle that I am guarded about, though. For example, the very first thing I did when purchasing my first iPhone was to turn off the geolocator for my camera. And my Facebook settings? Keep as much information as possible hidden until a friend request is sent and accepted. I do not have the “Children” fields completed on my profile, I have only the month and day of my birthday showing, and I don’t have my current city nor hometown listed.
(***Identity thieves can use your hometown and full birthdate to make a good guess at your social security number.)
I have friends – both online and IRL – who sit on both ends of this spectrum. To me, an issue like this is a personal call and I respect whatever level of openness my friends and family deem best.
What do you think about online privacy? What information do you prefer to keep hidden?