But I'm not on Facebook...

People who choose not to be on social networking sites should have the right not to be on social networking sites - privacy, reputation and control on Facebook.

<< back Page 4 of 4

In conclusion

Facebook and its peers need to strive for a safer, fairer and more socially responsible sharing environment not just for users, but for non-users too.

If Facebook insists on placing the onus of responsibility on its users, then it should endeavour to educate its users about the growing importance of online identity and how it impacts on reputation - not just theirs, but other peoples too.

Part of the problem is that opening a Facebook account is simple and this simplicity can breed ignorance. Perhaps Facebook should introduce a more socially responsible registration process. If users, particularly younger users, were required to complete a multiple choice questionnaire for example before their account can be activated this may at least highlight important issues such as privacy, reputation, security, safety, cyberbullying and so forth.

Of course a time consuming or complex registration process may be more responsible, but it may not be more lucrative...

Still, in this ever changing digital landscape more needs to be done. As Danah Boyd, a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Corp declared, 'People want to share and they gain a lot from sharing. But that's different than saying that people want to be exposed by others. Protecting privacy is about making certain that people have the ability to make informed decisions about how they engage in public. I do not think we've done enough here'[1].

And I'm inclined to agree.

I repeat: people who choose not to be on social networking sites should have the right not to be on social networking sites.

[1] http://www.freezepage.com/1341584262OTHFQUWAAH

Lena Roland has a Masters in Information Science from City University London. She has worked in Information Knowledge within the advertising industry for over 12 years. She currently works as a Consultant Information Specialist for the IPA, the trade body for the UK advertising industry. Her research, the 'Future of History' which investigates the challenge of preserving born digital materials, is in press and will be published in the Journal of Library and Information History, later this year. She is a guest lecturer in Digital Curation and Advertising Domain Analysis at City.

Twitter: @rolandreckons

LinkedIn http://uk.linkedin.com/in/lenaroland

<< back Page 4 of 4