Social media privacy

February 6, 2008 at 2:59 pm (social media) (, , )

Can I get a little privacy?Yesterday, I gave a brief presentation on a Web 2.0 service to the Advanced PR Writing class I am taking. I chose Yelp.com. However, during the selection process at Go2Web2.0, I came across another service that posed a privacy issue.  

I was registering for Zookoda, a free e-mail marketing service for bloggers, when I was prompted to give personal account information. The service would not let me sign up without providing my physical address. Red flag! Granted, it wasn’t as serious as asking for my social security or bank account numbers, but it still seemed odd to me. For a service that is Internet-based, it should not need my address. 

In the last couple of years, Facebook has undergone huge privacy changes due to the increase of users and information options. I distinctly remember an outrage by users when they implemented the  news feed application with little privacy options. Luckily, the Facebook team immediately addressed and fixed it so users can choose how private they want their profiles.  

What I don’t understand is why social media services aren’t taking extra precaution when it comes to privacy before it becomes an issue. I personally do not post my address on Facebook for safety reasons. You can never be too careful.  

How do I know that Zookoda is a legitimate service when I sign up and not a hoax just to get addresses? Social media needs to be responsible and perform all the same precautions that online stores (that really need private information) do. 

On the other hand, you need to be aware of what you are signing up for. Your privacy is automatically lowered when you join the Internet, social media realm, but if you are careful, it won’t be an issue. Be responsible and selective. 

Don’t get me wrong, I think social media services are fantastic resources and tools – just don’t ask for my address if it’s not necessary.  

*Web 2.0 graphic courtesy of Flickr: Montara Mike©.  It was taken under the Creative Commons  license.

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