There is evidence to suggest that most reluctant users of the online community join out of peer pressure, a kind of social obligation that if you isolate yourself from you are not part of society, or do not exist and certainly for organisations there is a need for an online presence if only to remain visible. But many online users, reluctant or otherwise are guilty of over-sharing. Even when users seek to create anonymity or try to apply Facebook’s inbuilt privacy tools to their profiles, people have shown in the past that there were ways to get around them before changes were made and likely will be more ways discovered in future. Understandably, users are concerned about how that lack of privacy could affect them, but perhaps confusingly are still will to share a great deal about themselves online.
Web 2.0 is all about sharing, so one of the great balancing acts faced by internet users today is not deciding whether or not to share, but how much to share. There has been a lot of discussion and criticism about the amount of information that Facebook asks its users to share, which is covered quite well in the course reading “Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning: Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook” by Kate Raynes–Goldie, who quotes a participant in her study, “Facebook makes things that should just have happened in passing totally permanent and public. It’s like the ultimate Air Miles card — it doesn’t just track what and where and when you buy things. It tracks everything.” While Facebook might not have reached the point where it can track absolutely everything in our lives (unless of course users volunteer that information) its ability to do so broadens with each new partnership it makes, and as mentioned could become public in undesired ways.
Ultimately it is up to the individual who shares the information in the first place to consider that if what they are about to post is something they would not want published in a public forum like a newspaper and/or associated with them to think twice about doing so and taking responsibility for themselves and the community they represent.