Keep Out: Private!

Some background music to listen to while you’re reading this post.

Privacy has different meanings. On one hand, it’s a person’s ability to hide something, and on the other hand it’s the ability to share what you want. Doesn’t that sound like the same thing? Hiding things can be very intentional, and have the “sneaky” undertone that we usually connect to “hiding” something. Sharing what you want is a person’s ability to dictate how they are perceived (either online, or otherwise). boyd notes that parents don’t think teens care about their privacy, and will just post anything. But also she notes that we are much more aware than initially perceived. The way that she talks about privacy is interesting and I believe can relate to parts of my life, as I’m sure it can relate to some of yours.

Persistence of content – stuff online last forever (boyd’s wording sounds fancier). This is one the most repeated phrases at my parents’ house that I heard growing up. Be careful what you put online because it lasts forever, anyone who wants to can find it eventually – or some paraphrase of that. This aspect of boyd’s writing is very true. How she notes that things from long ago online can resurface and be used out of context in an argument – a present self having to defend a former self. It isn’t necessarily fair that this can occur with use of online postings, it is ultimately, a trade-off, or necessary evil (I’m not sure which term would be more appropriate) of posting things online. Ironically enough, this post that I’m writing right now is subject to the same perpetuity as the rest of our classes content, and the same perpetuity of news articles, Facebook posts, Trump tweets, etc. I think that, as a younger generation, we aren’t ignorant to the fact that what we post online lasts forever, however perhaps we are… numb? Indifferent? Or maybe we use this fact as the center of motivation to rebel – let everyone read this, I could care less, this needs to be said.

I know writing online can be an outlet for some, so couldn’t it also be an outlet for rebellion? With the use of online mediums, more people hear your voice that wouldn’t necessarily have heard it before social media. Sure, you could have sent a thousand angry letters to whomever, but you’d ultimately end up with carpal tunnel and no change. The fact that “stuff” online lasts forever can help social activism and other aspects of society due to the fact that it can garner support weeks, even years after it was posted because it does indeed last forever.

So, yes, our content lasts forever. Should we update our privacy settings, or produce better content?


Author: Jake B

I am an Economics student with an interest in writing, business, and how the economies of the world work. Whether the problems are in labor markets, policy issues, or small business, I am ripe to learn about anything and everything that may affect change in these interests.

6 thoughts on “Keep Out: Private!”

  1. Great concluding question, Jake. The obvious answer would seem to be: both. No? I also like your use of the stalker classic by the Police as background, but to make it background, you have to set the file to open in another window! Nice work, ~Joe


  2. I like the notion that persistence is not always a bad thing. I too remember sitting through talks with my parents and school assemblies about the dangers of posting online and have the phrase “whatever you post on the internet lasts forever!!” engraved into my head. But, as you suggest, that very warning statement can be used to the advantage of people wanting to make a change, or even those who wish to rebel (though they may regret it later haha).


  3. I also wrote about how parents tell us that everything that is posted online is permanent. I hadn’t thought about how we have become numb to the idea. I do think there is elements of the internet that we are numb too or even just think we have grown up and know better now.


  4. So first, I kind of liked this song but now its just sounds creepy and stalkery and thank you so much for that. One thing that I noticed about boyd is that she repeatedly refers to the fact that people haven’t really changed, they’ve just become more visible. So, as always, there are people who will “overshare” (like those kids in 80’s movies where everyone knows their business and have a bad reputation) and people who act responsibly. This is prevalent in both youths and adults. The problem is that the oversharers with the bad reputations are able to post their bad decisions, and they stand out in people’s minds the most. People assume that they represent an entire group. I think that people aren’t numb to the lack of privacy, that like you said and boyd has said, they are still able to pick and choose what they share and what they don’t. The problem is that once they get it out there, it can be manipulated and is often competing with a million other, louder voices.


  5. I liken online activism to another kind of activism. I’m sure you have heard of it. It’s called “slacktivism,” and it’s taking over the current age of political rebellion and social upheaval. I agree with your point that it is much easier to engage in a more socially conscious world with the internet. We can connect with people sharing the same message as us, promoting the same route to change as us, and so forth. But in reality, I don’t think the internet’s version of activism will ever out duel in-person organizing. There is something sweeter about the site of 100,000 people marching then 100,000 re-tweets.


  6. First off, I love the song choice. I had such a hard time trying to pick an appropriate audio file to embed in my piece, but your song is perfect.
    Second, I find your discussion about how we have become numb or indifferent to the persistence of content on the internet to be very interesting. Just like you, my parents would always warn me to be careful what I put on the internet, but now a days, I never really think about it. It’s not that I don’t care that my posts will forever live online, but now I have had more experience as to what to post and what not to post. So I don’t think about it anymore.
    Also, just as you talk about using social media as a sort of rebellion, I found myself doing this during the election. Whereas before, I would never post or reblog anything controversial. But I felt as if I finally had a strong enough opinion on something that I could share.


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