Walled garden social sites including Facebook, promise security and safety, where users can chat with friends, meet old acquaintances or perhaps simply join interest groups. Such safety and security inspires confidence – encouraging users to include a high degree of personal details, including uploading and sharing photos, whether they be of holidays, drunken antics or graduation. But perhaps caution should be exercised when posting photos, statements and even your political outlook, as these walled gardens appeal to house large windows… and who knows who is looking in.
Yesterday’s (24th) sport section of the BBC News website carried the story of top Britain’s tennis juniors David Rice – the second-best British junior – and Naomi Broady – the national Under-18 champion – who have been suspended for unprofessional behaviour” and “lack of discipline” after posting confusion and photos including a junior “slumped on a hotel bed surrounded by empty pizza boxes” on social networking site Bebo.
This story echoes that of Oxford students, reported by the Times in July of this year, who were “busted” by University officials who used the social network site Facebook to track down students who inadvertently soiled areas of the university quadrant with flour, champagne and toilet rolls as they celebrated finishing their exams.
Issues of privacy and invasions of ring true, and although sites including Facebook have privacy settings, little is know as to how to enable these.
Questions remain of social networks and of Facebook in particular, which to this day, leave me bemused?
1. Do I add my boss as a ‘friend’ or ‘Contact’?
2. Should I edit what “Simon Is….” really doing on my Facebook profile?
3. Are images of me enjoying a drink at a nightclub on a school night really safe?
4. Can I really be myself online?
Ultimately, THE question is: Where do we draw the line?
Are social networks to be serious ‘networking’ spaces reminiscent of attending a Christmas party in a new job, where we must all be on our best behaviour? It certainly feels that way, and it’s a point galvanised by the suspension of Rice and Broady
Please accept my apologies if the title of this entry conjured up thoughts of an anatomical nature, but in view of your social networking profiles, are you showing your private parts? or perhaps, to further digress, is there a chance, in a metaphorical sense, that the zipper might get caught?