I believe, and reinforce this to my students all the time, that you can control what you put online and it is your obligation to do so. According to a recent report, some people are shaming people into becoming more intelligent consumers of their own information. Shaming others into making smarter decisions might not be the best idea in the world, but maybe it will cause people to stop and think.
I recently read about ViewHue, a company which does not collect log information or require users to login with anything other than their e-mail address. It began in June of 2012. It seems like it may be a good platform for people to have an honest conversation about current topics. It boasts the tagline of “Anonymous Thoughts Sharing.” It looks very interesting and will be something that I will be keeping my eye on to see if it lasts and/or changes the privacy settings that it currently has. I have added to my Google+ account as a way to keep track of happenings and announcements. (Just as Jeff said, make the Internet come to you- I am trying…..)
We live in a world that is becoming more and more global. I really don’t know if people- especially students- truly understand this. When I am at my school in Asia, I know that the students understand that the world is a global place. But, now that I am in the States for the summer, I don’t think that many students in the US would agree. Some that I have spoken to understand that teenagers in other countries value education more than they do, but they don’t seem to understand that these are not just people their own age living overseas. They are their peers and will one day be responsible for the policy changes that will govern people’s lives. The students seem to be so US-centric that they can’t see this. It is the same with texting and facebooking in the US. I teach students to use social networks in order to connect to others to gain information. The students that I see in the US are using it as a diversion from the gathering of information. And in addition to this, privacy is not on the top of everyone’s “to do” list.
Before moving overseas, I really didn’t do that much thinking about online privacy as my world was more limited than it is now. Since I have taken the time to become aware of my digital footprint, I believe that it is part of my job to help students make good decisions about what is put online and what is not.
In conclusion, it would be nice if things that you put online stayed private. Not everything, just those things that you want to share with a few and not the masses. But, I believe, as long as you are smart and keep track of your own digital footprint, you may not be as surprised when something unexpected comes your way.