Social Question

talljasperman's avatar

What should be public and what should remain private in society?

Asked by talljasperman (18242 points ) January 28th, 2012

What should we keep to our selves and what should feel welcome to share in society, public and internet?

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Private
Our nudity.
Our salaries and how much we have in terms of money.
Our private thoughts and desires.

ETpro's avatar

Great question, @talljasperman. The answer isn’t as simple as it might seem, and it’s particularly important that those of us who share things on social media have a clear understanding of where to draw the line.

I am constantly amazed when I hear of someone losing a job they’ve applied for, getting turned down by a college, failing a security check or whatever because they unwisely posted on the Internet more about themselves than they should have. For instance, if you aced the SAT tests, do not reveal online that you did it by cheating. College admissions officers may now read your Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc. page/s. They do searches for your name and perhaps even nicknames. There’s a substantial chance they will find things you’ve posted about yourself.

If you’re applying for a job with the FBI, it might be a bad idea to tweet about a wild weekend snorting coke and drinking red bull and vodka shots. As a Web developer, I warn my clients that the Internet is an inordinately poor hiding place. Don’t put anything there you don’t want others to know about you.

Obviously that includes personal identification info such as your Social Security number, any passwords, your bank account information, etc. Note that hackers also use searches of a target individual’s name and any nicknames that name turns up to find out things like mother’s maiden name, city of birth, pet’s name, date of birth and such. So if thise things are online, don’t use them as the secondary questions on password protected sites.

I share things about myself here on Fluther that I wouldn’t dare put on the Internet if I were going to apply for a job, a security clearance, or some such thing. Because I am self employed and past retirement age, I feel reasonably safe doing so. But younger people should not share embarrassing sexual escapades unless they are certain there is no way to link the pseudonym they share it under to their real life identity.

I did lose a potential Web Development client due to something that he read on my Facebook page. It was a local start-up business and they banked where I do. When I was talking to one of the bank officers about some business banking issues of my own, he learned that I’m a Web developer, and he thought of these guys he is helping get their business up and running. They had told him they needed to find a developer for their site. So he passed my name, phone number and my website URL on to them. One of the two partners contacted me several days later and told me that he had looked at my Facebook page, and that because I favored Net Neutrality, we would not be doing any business together. So it’s pretty hard to second guess what fact may rub someone else the wrong way.

Keep_on_running's avatar

We should be able to share almost everything, because humans shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed about perfectly legal things. What we are supposed to keep private are the things that society refuses to accept or at least embrace openly as just parts of being human.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Nothing has to be private, in my opinion. Each person is to decide for themselves how much to share and stay out of my business to share or overshare.

wundayatta's avatar

I honestly don’t know. I know that, by reflex, I never share salary information and I am reluctant to share anything about my family outside of my closest friends.

My love life I keep to myself (except for fluther) because I don’t want to hurt my relationships. Similarly, I keep my mental health situation to myself and some people I trust (some friends, people in my support group). My family does not know about it except for one person outside of my nuclear family.

At work, I mostly only talk about successes; never about failures or about what I really do on the job. I don’t even tell my family that much about what I really do at work. I make like I am working hard all the time.

So basically, I keep information to myself that might hurt me. I’m not sure why I keep financial information to myself, but I suspect it could make me a target for thieves or people who want to commit fraud on me. So it’s best if that information is not shared. I don’t want to be taken advantage of.

ETpro's avatar

@wundayatta When it comes to sharing intimate details about family and close foriens, we not only have to be concerned about the harm hackers can do with that informatin, we must think about how the other person would feel if they knew that their intimate relationship with you was posted on the Internet for the whole world to read.

I admire and basically agree with the libertarian spirit of @Keep_on_running and @Simone_De_Beauvoir . Indeed, we “should” be free to share anything we wish, and those reading it “should” not judge—and they certainly “should” not hack into our private accounts and cause mayhem. Unfortunately, the operative word there is should and it only seems to apply in a perfect world. It is abundantly clear to me that isn’t the sort of world we live in.

Keep_on_running's avatar

@ETpro Indeed. I was going to put a disclaimer: **in a perfect world in my response, of course the realities of life are far different, unfortunately.

wundayatta's avatar

@ETpro “we must think about how the other person would feel if they knew that their intimate relationship with you was posted on the Internet for the whole world to read.

Yes. That’s why anonymity is so important online. If we have it, we can talk about things we want to talk about but aren’t safe to talk about otherwise. I guess the only other place to talk about such things is with a therapist. But that doesn’t really give you any feedback, except for from one person.

ETpro's avatar

@wundayatta Amen to that. Just know that the anonymity is real and permanent before talking.

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