Wednesday 14 May 2014

Muting Social Media...

At the beginning of this month, it was reported in the news that Twitter were trying out a mute feature.  This feature is being made live this week over various platforms, but I'm surprised why you’d follow someone who over-shares.  Surely the mute feature would be to unfollow them.

I'm on a number of social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and am all too aware of people who over-share on social media.  I'm sure you have the same with the people you are connected with on various social media sites.

In the last year or so, I've noticed that it’s the same people who share a lot on my recent news feeds, but have noticed many people have been sharing a lot less.  In fact I'm guilty of this as my regular blogging has slowed somewhat, and I'm also using Twitter and Facebook less frequently.  My LinkedIn is quite active, which I suspect was due to my relatively recent new role with a new organisation.

I believe this could be attributed to the “Snowden Effect”, as more and more people hear about and begin to understand about data privacy, they become more concerned with what they are sharing and how it is so easily accessible with the aid of everyone’s favourite search engine. 

I find I'm a lot more cautious when using social media now, as I don’t know who may read or misread my comments at a later date.  The recent news about the “right to be forgotten” in the EU court is interesting, as Google can on search on publicly available data on the internet.  It still surprises me how many people believe that Google holds all this data, although I appreciate Google does cache some information.

It’s not just about data that can be used, there are also legal implications.  We have seen a number of legal cases and prosecutions around trolling, but this does not seem to slow the flow of negative or inflammatory comments on social media sites.  Listening to the news on the radio today it seems that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are issuing new guidelines towards the elderly and teenagers receiving abuse, including via social media.

After the initial explosion and the subsequent growth of social media, it has meant the laws protecting the users have always lagged behind.  It’s great to be a part of this pioneering time, but as with all pioneers, it’s difficult to protect yourself from the unknown.

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