The New York Times has four experts debate the idea of online privacy:
There seems no part of public, private or commercial life that hasn’t been made more accessible through social networking tools like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Hospitals are posting videos of surgeries on YouTube and doctors are sending tweets from operating rooms to educate the public and market their services. Those are just the latest examples of media-driven communication in places that used to be relatively private.
Is there such a thing as overuse of social networking tools? In the online world, is the notion of a public/private divide simply not applicable?
[…] Society has always carved out space for young people to misbehave. We used to do this by making a distinction between behavior we couldn’t see, because it was hidden, and behavior we could see, because it was public. That bargain is now broken, because social life increasingly includes a gray area that is publicly available, but not for public consumption.
Given this change, we need to find new ways to cut young people some slack. Privacy used to be enforced by inconvenience; you couldn’t just spy on anyone you wanted. Increasingly, though, privacy will have to be enforced by us grownups simply choosing not to look, since it’s none of our business. […]
[…] The early Internet was very different. Users faced a stark choice between posting information on a public Web site or sending it in a private email, with little in between. The new generation of social media tools is helping to bridge the gap. Twitter lets me make my tweets public or limit access to people I’ve specifically approved. Facebook allows me to decide whether my profile will be visible to others with a princeton.edu email address, whether friends-of-friends will be able to see my photos, and even whether my profile will show up at all when someone searches for my name.
Of course, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Many users find these tools inconvenient or hard to use, and some are careless about posting information that could become embarrassing in the future. […]
[…] One of the truths of social media that is hard to face is that microinformation can be both embarrassing and boring, leading to a terminal case of twittering too hard and to the need to get over yourself. Wondering if you’ve crossed the line? If you have to ask, you probably have.
The emerging phenomenon of social-networking technologies like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube creates lots of inherent, unavoidable, potentially problematic tradeoffs. While these new media foster more personal communication, they also encourage excessive, addictive, counterproductive multitasking. […]
They’re being used everywhere — at corporate meetings, during driving, and while cooking dinner. At the same time, recent research has shown that such multitasking is often extremely inefficient and can actually be dangerous to your health. […]