The Rules of Engagement: Your Online Identity

If you ask any Facebook defector why they switched to Google+, they will likely cite privacy reasons. Zuckerberg and his crew are well known for wanting to make their social media platform more “public,” where people use their real names and the content they post is widely visible. For the teachers, congressmen and the rest of us who don’t want our personal life on public display, Facebook is pushing the envelope of what’s okay and what’s not okay.

While Facebook may want you to open your curtains, there are still many social networks that enforce anonymity – like Reddit and 4chan. Why? While unlike Facebook and Google+ in the types and ways content is shared, Reddit is still a community for conversation and thought. The idea is that, if everybody remains anonymous, they will also feel free to be more creative and honest with one another. One night you can confess all your sins and go into work the next day with the knowledge that your boss has no clue that it was you.

A recent Mashable infographic  explored people and platform’s reactions to the privacy issue. The findings? 43% of people don’t worry or care about the amount of personal information about them online. This could be everything from their email address, phone number or street address–to the finer details of what they had for lunch.  Another 25-33% doesn’t even know if that information is publicly available.

So why is everybody so cavalier with their online persona? We take steps to ensure our identity isn’t used fraudulently to open a credit card or apply for a job, but when it comes to the Internet we let it all hang out. If you have your Facebook profile open to the public – what kind of information do you have on it and why did you choose to make it so? While one segment is calling for more strict privacy policies, another is completely oblivious that they exist. Which side do you fall on?