Facebook’s privacy issues have been all over the news recently. The dialogue has sparked conversations about our attitudes as a culture toward privacy.  Most articles and blogs I have read state that social networking has changed our attitude toward privacy and made us much less choosy about what we share publicly.

About a week or so ago I received a postcard from one of my best friends. She and I have been writing letters and postcards back and forth for close to 10 years. It’s one of those lifelong friendships that will endure until we are old and gray.

As I turned the postcard over and started reading, I noted the intimacy of the message on the back despite the fact that it was a postcard, readable by anyone through whose hands it passed.  I then thought of the dozens of postcards like this that have been exchanged between myself and my friends over the last 10 years.  I then envisioned the decades during which lovers exchanged postcards across oceans and sent telegrams delivered by complete strangers.  Deaths, births, all kinds of personal messages often went through many hands before reaching their recipient.  Even military personnel have all of their correspondence read before it goes in the mail.

So my thoughts are: did Facebook really change our attitudes, or have we always held these attitudes and Facebook has just provided a different media and outlet through which people can express their need to communicate?

4 Comments

  1. Marti Shirley

    Reply

    I believe we've always held these attitudes, in fact previously more so. In the days of old, we weren't as concerned about people having information about us because we were unaware of how damaging that could be.
    I do also agree that Facebook is simply a different media that allows people to communicate, it has simply increased the speed and ease of communication.

  2. Reply

    Good point. I guess when no one had a SSN and some didn't even have birth certificates, there wasn't much use for most personal/private information.

    There were more smaller communities in the past due just to plain population numbers, so your business was often out in the open. As you say, Facebook has increased the speed and ease of communication. Perhaps we are heading back to the small town in a big world?

  3. Reply

    I think it's a little different now. I do agree with Marti though. In the past, we knew a lot more about each other, but I think that was because we spent more time at other people's houses or with people face to face. I think the tech has made it easier to exchange and share info. My only thought with the whole FB thing is that they were deciding for me whether or not I wanted to share and what to share. It should be my decision and I should have to opt in, which is the opposite of what they had for a while.

  4. Reply

    I totally agree that FB's 'recommended' privacy settings are bogus. As for the past, I miss hanging out at people's houses. Maybe that's why I like to throw barbecues and RockBand parties. Too much screen time is not always a good thing!

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