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When I started using Social Media, back in I can’t even remember when, it didn’t really bother me that everyone I knew saw everything I did and I saw everything they did. It was fun! The ability to be able to speak to everyone and catch up with old friends was exciting. Yet, over the past few months, for some reason I want to be able to control who sees what, and I don’t think I’m alone.
Today this seems to be a very real shift in social media. Is it that we now realize that not all of our social media friends are actual friends? In life we all have drinking buddies and friends, and there is a massive difference, and for me this also applies to social media. I’ll go for a pint with my drinking buddies, and tell a real friend about how my marriage is going. If I was to think about it, I could probably narrow a 200 or so strong list of friends and followers down to about 5 real world friends, people I can talk to properly. This shift in privacy hasn’t gone unnoticed, the powers that be have been listening, and acted accordingly, we have seen this with Google+ and circles, and Facebook then followed with some privacy posting restrictions. It seems like a very small issue but privacy is a huge concern for some people on the web, and now we at least have the option to share with the world, or restrict it to a few close friends.
Here’s the question for me, would I stand up in the middle of a party and very loudly broadcast repeatedly “I’ve just changed my profile pic”? Personally, I probably wouldn’t, I’d join in, in smaller groups of conversations and make the announcement, about whatever it is, if I decided to talk about it all. On the other hand I also know many friends who broadcast anything they can at parties and enjoy doing it!
My daughter who is turning 14 this November, will eventually want to become apart of a social network, and join the conversation, but will she want her dad on the same network? Or opt to find a more exclusive network with like-minded people her age?
One great example of this restrictive sharing is Path. http://www.path.com/ which is a restrictive photo sharing app. This is how Wired describes it “Posting on Path is not an act of broadcasting or self-promotion, but sharing a moment with someone who actually knows you.” And there it is in a nutshell, you are sharing with the people in your life that matter.
The irony for me is that, when the super-powered social media sites started they were Restrictive & Exclusive, and that’s what made them become mainstream, everybody wanted in, it was cool. Let me put it to you like this, if your invited to a club and your on the guest list it’s nice, you feel special, it’s cool, it’s restricted, it’s exclusive. If you go to that same club with 500 people standing outside, and 1,000 people already gone in, you know you have friends in there, you want to get in.
I wonder what the next big guest list will be? Or will it be a smaller affair?