In my second year Liberties, Rights and Justice, class. I was assigned, the seminar presentation on Social Networking Sites (SNS), this was a revelation for me in understanding the depth of my public profiles and my risk of security. After learning how cookies, tracking worms and serves store my information and follow my online movement. Finding out that every window, I have open, while on these sites, can be recorded and logged, a profile created on my use and me. This is a carbon footprint or record book of my online activities, likes and posts. These great new, hip, fast ‘smart phones’ and devices have become a traceable second little me, or stalkers and recorders. This information is stored and used to target me for advertising. Following me? Getting to know me? Where is this information stored, how will it be used, is it sold, and what personal information do they have (no, they could not, could they?)? The summary of my learning was that SNS’s have buried privacy settings which allows the site, and third-party sites, geo location apps and many others; access to our private usage and habits.
I believed my SNS habits changed when I began to add my family, little cousins and co-workers to my Facebook and twitter platforms. My experience was that at the height of Facebook’s boom my life was documented through friends and at parties. Once I started to apply for jobs, I began to ask friends to take down some pictures. They did not agree and said to just “un-tag” myself. What do I not have the rights to what is posted with me in it? This was the moment when I began to change my private/public postings; however, this only stopped my status and comment habits’ at first, then it progressed. What did not stop were my usage patterns. So today, I do not check in, add locations, I turn most privacy setting off and constantly check the ‘new’ layout and rules of the sites settings.
My main traffic sites are Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram. I never release personal information, and have taken my phone number down. I fill out the set up pages with just the bare minimum of information. I have changed the habit of having my personal information appear on my profile, I have all my settings private, meaning I get to monitor my followers and what people can see of my profiles. What friends can post on my profile, if they can tag me or see certain posts. I decided in the privacy realization it was time to create two identities: one for friends, family and another for my professional associations and coworkers. The profiles associated with my real name have my coworkers and is for school. My other accounts are associated with family, friends, acquaintances and my private life with my allias.
Goffmans ‘Front stage’ and ‘Backstage’, which I have studied before but have never associated or consider my on-line ‘presentations’ in relations to Goffman’s stages. My ‘front stage’ on-line identity is my professional profile and my ‘backstage’ is my real self with a fake name. This is my private/public stages and appearances.