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Social Media Voyeur

6 Feb

This week’s Hump Day Hmm is: The ethics of social media. You can read responses from the other participants vis Julie Pippert’s Using My Words.

The other day I was listening to an episode of the Jumping Monkeys podcast (an informational and funny podcast about parenting in the digital age). The episode discussed some of the legal and privacy issues that affect parents and children; in particular a lawsuit involving the commercial use of photos from a Flickr account that I was already familiar with. While discussing the legal and ethical standards involved in this case, they had a side conversation about it not being ethical (and possibly illegal) to post pictures of say you child’s kindergarten graduation if the pictures contained the faces of other children. Realizing that he had recently committed this egregious act, one of the hosts said he was immediately removing some photos he’d recently posted of his daughter’s school play.

For a moment this seemed reasonable to me. Then I thought about the 100 other parents in the line who have access to digital cameras, online uploading sites, and surely had taken pictures of their child’s achievement that day. The show host is a geek who thinks about the wider implications of digital media, and can approach it objectively, as one application amongst a slew of others that form similar functions. To those other parents, the digital camera and the photo sharing sites are simply the tools for how those activities are done in this age.

  1. Use digital camera to take pictures.
  2. Use Flickr to share with aunts and uncles.
  3. Contemplate no more than that.

This is precisely the way that most people view social networking tools like Twitter, Digg, and Facebook. This is particularly true if you are younger than I am (32).

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