Digital Privacy Boundaries

I have custom rules for each platform I use, specifically for safety. Some find that drastic, but it’s been my approach since I started using the Internet, and SNS especially.

Facebook

Outside of extensive restrictions, this is a platform I leave for specific relationships. I won’t add just anyone on here and see no reason to when it involves aspects of my offline life. With that being said, don’t feel obligated to put information in every field that’s presented. Even before it was known this information would be shared with advertisers, I just didn’t see the need for everyone to know every interest and friendship I held. If you are going to know that about me, that means we know each other offline and therefore don’t need to share it on a digital platform.

Twitter

I link my account back to this website and use it for news and anecdotal discussion. Nothing you can’t find anywhere else is shared here. Once again, for similar reasons I’ve previously stated. Since Twitter is my main networking platform, I use different filtering techniques for safety. Be creative about how you use DMs, lists, etc. It’s part of my brand, but I keep the lines clearly designated.

Instagram

I prefer being behind the camera and not in front of it. So with my photos, most things are posted: 1) at public events partway into the schedule, 2) after I’ve already been somewhere, 3) of subjects that are vague about my location and/or friends with me and 4) often without me in the photo. Don’t get me wrong–it’s great to have memories of where I’ve been and who I was with. But that’s what my digital camera’s for. I don’t want a time stamped timeline of my entire day. Call me paranoid, but that’s how it reads to me.

LinkedIn

I’ve been talking about this with many friends and coworkers recently. I don’t share details about a job beyond my title and when I worked there. Sometimes, less than that. While this is a professional SNS, the only time I will share my detailed resume is with the contact for a job opening. The world doesn’t need to know the intricacies of my career history. While there is some flexibility on the sections of your profile that can be restricted to those who aren’t connections, I just don’t see the point. And since it’s another network where I don’t believe in adding every connection request I see, those I interact with already have the important information.

YouTube

What content to post? What status–public, unlisted, private, etc.? It’s all such a complicated situation. I remember joining the platform in the early days when everyone was posting random vlogs and still deciding what YouTube was supposed to be for. Before Google bought it out, the partner program, AdSense, etc. I was sharing some spotlights on bands and the occasional makeup tutorials that all basically had the same steps. lol. But privacy was always at the forefront of my mind. I never disclosed where I was and the background chosen was intentional. The content I want to cover was the only focus. As I begin to restart my vlogs, that same approach in being continue.

No matter what the platform is that you’re discussing, I think it’s so important to factor in where privacy fits in. And not just to be overly paranoid. There are best practices, both officially and that you created overtime for your own comfort. For me, it means taking the given platform into consideration: what I’m using it for and the outcomes I’m expecting as a result.