A question about privacy on social media…
Last week I was in a discussion with a senior marketer about privacy on social media. Lately the media is jumping on this story again. To be honest: I'm a little bit tired of it.
All these stories seem to claim Facebook and their privacy stuff. Of course, Facebook isn’t the nicest company in the world and of course they are often arrogant in the way they deal with rights of their consumers, but blaming them for everything is going too far for me.
There are two ways you can look at this discussion. First one is forcing governments and companies like Facebook to agree on some sort of new privacy arrangement. Second one is to learn to adapt to the current world where we live in. My feeling: we don’t have a choice but to go for the second option.
The world is clearly changing. We expect companies to be an open kitchen en to be as transparent as possible. Well, dear consumers, we need to be transparent as well. The same rules can be applied to everyone of us. If you don’t have anything to hide, then why should you be afraid of stuff being shared about you? I’m pretty sure that the new generation people (like my son Siebe who is 15 months old) will adapt to this situation. Last week I was teaching at a local business school (Ehsal) where I asked students if they had stress going out or drinking too much, knowing that there is something like Facebook around. Well, these guys don’t worry, because they create new rules. They have some sort of gentlemen’s agreement about what they share. The new generation will adapt to this open world while we are still trying to close it. Trying to stop it: it’s a fight you can never win.
With statements like this, you hear people think: “Yeah, but there are so many people who don’t find a job because of all the stuff they put on social media”. I agree, it’s not really fun for these people, but it’s great for our economy. Because of this transparency, we can find great talent at an early stage. And you know, there have always been dumb people around and they won’t go away by some privacy law. You just make it easier to hide for these people.
Let us be clear: your personal reputation is your personal responsibility. Just as a company’s reputation is its own responsibility. Let’s take things forward and discuss how we should adapt to the new world and let’s stop fighting it.