privacy, social, ethics, and posting pictures on facebook
On most days, I have a camera attached to my right hand . I take an obscene amount of photos - from the quirky and the candid to the gorgeous and inspiring - and then, save the occasional Picasa album, they collect dust on my hard drive.
I don’t post photos on Facebook, and this simple fact earns me so much flak from my friends.
This is how I feel about posting photos to Facebook.
It’s not just photos. I don’t share much of anything on Facebook (I’m getting better about this). I don’t have a wall, don’t join groups, don’t “like” bands or authors or celebrities, and I definitely don’t do check-ins.
A few weeks ago Thomas told me that meaningful social is about generating and pushing content that gets viewed by a lot of people. Basically, I’m valuable to my network, and valuable to Facebook, because of who I have access to.
But it’s who I have access to that also makes me dangerous. When I tag a picture or a post, some 1800 people are going to have access to it. You have no way of knowing which of those 1800 are relevant to you - from future employers to law enforcement officers to someone whose account just got hijacked by a burglar looking for their next target. And there’s no way to control what their perception of you becomes based on what I write about you (like my wonderful [male] friends who have been ragging on me all week for posting an amazing link from the Tiffany website and won’t publicly admit that they like it - pay attention, gentlemen, especially to #7 and #11).
This is like posting photos of the developing world. I’ve done it before, to highlight the stark inequalities that exist in a place like India, or to catalogue my own travel experiences and adventures. But what they say about pictures being worth a thousand words is true, and human beings are visual. While photos of sick children and sad stories of war and famine are a reality in many parts of the world, they aren’t the only reality that people in these places face. It’s a challenge to make sure that photos don’t convey the wrong thousand words.
How’s that for preserving the dignity of the subject?
Whether or not I post photos on facebook, I can’t stop someone from adding them. So I have to trust that whoever is posting photos has the same ideas of relevance, decorum, and discretion that I do. And when I post my own content, I hope that I’ve preserved the dignity of the subject before I hit “upload.”
The only content you have control over is your own. Make yours count.