Monday, 26 April 2010

Should I be worried? Facebook, privacy and Foursquare

Paul Bradshaw, on the Online Journalism Blog, looks at journalistic uses for Foursquare, the geolocation tool that helps you "unlock your city".

(Does it not work in the countryside due to inevitable problems with a lack of mobile phone signal? This suggests rather sadly that the countryside would remain permanently "locked down" or perhaps more positively there might be some areas of the country where we actually stop staring at 3 inch screens once in a while and admire the view. Anyway, I digress.)

I should perhaps try Foursquare and other location-based services but I'm rather concerned about revealing my location on a regular basis. I mean I can see the potential power of geolocation for I just worrying too much?

Maybe I am. Shortly after Facebook introduced their Social Graph concept a few days ago, I promptly pulled all of my 'interests' from my Facebook page. I feel like this was an over-reaction on my part.

But I have always kept Facebook as a way of keeping in touch with personal contacts who I know well. Facebook's desire to put more and more of my personal information 'out there' is beginning to make me wonder whether at some point I will need to start all over again and treat Facebook more like my Twitter feed - open, but altogether less revealing about my personal life.

I note that Ros Atkins at the BBC has already jettisoned his friends on Facebook in order to build relationships with listeners to his radio programme. In his regular email to listeners he wrote recently:
"The trouble was that I had 'friends' who I know from my personal life, and lots more of you who I've come to know through W[orld] H[ave] Y[our] S[ay]. It didn't seem like a great mix. So the mates have gone, and now it's strictly WHYS."
So it looks like my Facebook friends might be sent packing at some point. We'll just have to rely on the knowledge that we are friends in 'real life' to see us through.


Geek Shui Living said...

Interesting post. Thank you for including a link back to our Facebook privacy post. We're glad you found it useful!

Daniel Bennett said...

Not a problem. I'm a big fan of the humble link.

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