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The Smoking Gun

Looking around nearly everyone you see on your way to school, work or elsewhere, has a cellphone. Some are so immersed in fiddling with their phones that they don’t see where they are going; others are gripping their cellphones trying to avoid the enticing urge to check for text messages, or Facebook notifications. It’s important to recognize that these same people are voluntarily publishing their personal information and relations on social media websites. Is this immense involvement with the social media overstepping the boundary of privacy? As I see it programs, such as, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social associations are ruining the privacy and solitude we longed for. Yet, we have been deliberately allowing it to invade.

On the other hand, why should we be so concerned with this issue? Everyone who is affiliated with these popular social media sites are fully aware of what they are posting. The internet does not force them to publicize their age, gender, religion, and other exclusive information; they do this on their own. Maybe it is this generation of people, we are treating these social networks as our personal diaries. Diaries are always chosen carefully to make sure there is a lock, and key. If anyone is in a five foot radius of it, we usually panic; hoping no one will find it, or read our secrets. The social media is just one of many improvements of communication that has helped connect the world; it is us that has hand freely unlatched the lock.

Peter Cashmore, CEO of Mashable Inc., asserts, “Privacy is dead, and social media holds the smoking gun.” Participants of these social programs frequently log on to check for updates, read the latest gossip, and to blog about their own lives. Facebook, for instance, started out initially has a college student’s way of connecting with other students. As membership grew so did the website. The creator transformed it into a more personal site for blogging; allowing members the capability to upload photos, write to others, and post firsthand entries. These advances enabled people to effortlessly reveal their history.

There is no denying that it has come to some people’s attention that they do not want strangers looking at their profile, or personal information. In illation, they have become fully convinced from site updates to modify the settings to private. Satisfied with the changes, members soon realize that the privacy settings are simulated. Government officials and college recruiters that are interested and want to know more about you can skillfully bypass the security that was assured. As stated in an article regarding Facebook and its fraud notices for updating user’s privacy settings, “In some cases, the "Notice" is preceded by a false claim that this is necessary for your own protection since Facebook has become a publicly traded company; that now "anyone can infringe on your right to privacy" with your Facebook content” (Facebook Privacy Notice: Fake, zdnet.com). These sites promised to keep your information and personal activities 100% guarded, yet it appears that the solitude of your blog has been infringed.

Aside from social media websites, the internet alone has bypassed the firewall of privacy. When doing research papers, or just simply surfing the web you encounter a few advertisements here and there. However, these ad’s are customized especially for you. In the computer it has taken note of everything you have ever searched, looked at, bought, or bookmarked and has fashioned specific ad’s that may appeal to you. It has not been by coincidence that your favorite store happened to pop-up. Advertisements are just another part of the social media, and they too have to capability to “get to know you.”

My friends and I are members of Facebook and I hadn’t realized until this year how disturbingly public everything is. I can read everything that people have written about their day, what they bought, and their problems and they don’t even have know me. One of my friends has actually deactivated every social network he was engaged in. He said that people shouldn’t be entitled to know what he does on his own time, and do not have the competence to be commentators. I can not agree more. Realizing how uncomfortable it is, I can’t imagine a stranger knowing me better than a classmate that sits next to me everyday. A complete stranger can find out from my information my name, birthday, interests, and the hometown that I live in, and what I love to do with my spare time. Envisioning the scenario is uncanny. This has fostered the reduction of my usage of social websites by ten-fold.

Some may not have considered the notions priorly stated, but we are surrounded by social media. From our cellphones to our computers, we interact with it everyday. In closing, I do believe that social media is holding the smoking gun. We have pleaded with our parents for privacy, shouted at our siblings for invading it, pledged with our friends to honor it, yet we have allowed social networks to disregard it. We should be careful with what we write on the internet, everyone can see it.



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