Living in Public – Facebook, Privacy and Frictionless Distribution

shhhhh.jpegYou already live in public. You always have. All that has changed is how easy it is to distribute the evidence.

We used to take for granted that the stupid things we did (we’ve all done them) would only live in the connections we had with friends and family. The photos were printed on paper and stuck in a scrapbook. The story was told… and re-told, but stayed safely within the confines of our local, limited group of friends.

Everyone is annoyed with Facebook because of their erosion of privacy – and not without reason. But the fact is, Facebook is right. Just like the RIAA, MPAA, Print Media and Brands are learning – distribution of content is cheap and easy – frictionless. The RIAA, MPAA, and Print Media relied on the inherent friction in distribution to create a business model. Brands relied on that same friction to give them a more powerful voice in the marketplace.

And you relied on that same friction in distribution to keep the evidence of your foibles – if not secret – closely confined.

Facebook is right. The change is inevitable. You can’t hide anymore. You aren’t living more in public, the evidence is just easier to distribute to whomever in the “public” is looking.

Some people will say – “we will just have to live better”. Cut out all the mistakes, foolish moments, wardrobe malfunctions, and drunken escapades. After all, your future dream job may hang in the balance.

I say – to hell with that. You learn from your mistakes. If you live your life trying so desperately hard not to make any… you won’t learn much.

Maybe, just maybe, we will learn to accept that we all have foibles and engage in occasional missteps. Maybe our future employers – being human themselves – will realize that it isn’t the photo of you wearing ladies underpants on your head that should worry them – but the public profile devoid of any mistakes, any foolish moments, any human-ness.

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