There is absolutely no doubting the immeasurable benefits that social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have brought to the world. They helped orchestrate the protests in Iran in 2009 and helped the spread of the fight for democracy in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other states. They’ve helped businesses gain a larger presence online and are now starting to garner extra customers from it. They’ve also helped the general public see into each others lives. But is this a good thing?

Speaking from my perspective, I really don’t like everyone knowing everything about me. My Facebook settings are all set to the highest settings, so that only my friends can see my info. The great thing about being anonymous on Twitter is that people know very little about you. The only time any information is given about you is when you decide what you want to say on there yourself. No profile picture if you don’t wish to have one, no bio, no place to live. Simple. I know you can chose to do that on Facebook, but there is more of a social pressure to put as much information as possible about yourself on there.

Humans are naturally curious creatures. But since the arrival of social media and the explosion of the Internet, I believe it has molded us to become more nosey, more curious, to the point where we almost intrude. All those on Facebook are probably all auto-tuned now to start looking through all the information and news feeds of people they are friends with, but this characteristic I believe has jumped from the screen into the real world. In general conversation I’ve often found myself thinking why people are asking such personal questions. Why people are taking such an interest in other people’s private lives. 

A perfect example of that is the TV program Made In Chelsea. I know it’s not 100% real, but I’m lead to believe that the scenarios those characters are in are genuine. If you listen to the conversations they have, all they ask each other is what is going on in their lives, who they’re shagging, what they feel about this, that and the other! If someone asked me that, I’d tell them to get lost! I’ll tell you when I want to!

The other problem I’ve found with having such an open social media society is the frictions it creates within groups of friends or family. Before social media, if people got on other people’s nerves and wanted to talk about it, they could text others to have a rant and moan. Now, all people seem to do is put their grievances and below-the-belt comments on Facebook or Twitter for everyone to see – half intentionally so that the person the comments are regarding can see them! Whatever happened to talking through a problem? 

There’s nothing wrong with privacy. Privacy is good. Privacy allows you to be you, without having any pressure from external influences. You can solve your own problems on your own terms. It allows you to say what you want, when you want, at your own pace. 

I’ve always been uncomfortable with such a high level of knowledge about people, I rarely want to know anything about anyone even hardly secret because I would feel burdened by having that knowledge, I wouldn’t know what to do with it. There have been many times where I considered shutting down my Facebook account, I wouldn’t miss it. But it does serve as a useful communication tool between me and my friends. I only ever use Facebook for jokes, silly pictures or daft statements – fun stuff that people cant’ possibly take offence to or cause harm.

There was a interesting post about privacy and social media in The Guardian today, click here to read it.