Last night I met with an old friend that is taking a vacation from his job in California. We did not meet from a long time and we found ourselves talking about a number of different things.
I have been told that he is really aware of what I am doing by following my wenlogs and other social site I participate to (Flickr, Jaiku, LinkedIn).
On of the question he asked me was: “Aren’t you worried about the information people can gather about you?”
My answer was that I was not really scared about that since I am quite a transparent person and I do not think I have much to hide.
The interesting point that come out during our conversation is that in our non digital life we would be very worried about giving information about ourselves, our taste, our behavior or friends to a single person. In digital life we do not seem to bother too much.
We give out small pieces of informations to different entities. We notify others of what we are doing via Twitter or Jaiku, we write on our blogs, we upload pictures on Flickr, we map our business contacts on LinkedIn, we map our friends on Facebook, we let other people tag ourselves on Spock and these are only few examples.
It seems that we are happy enough to disclose these bits of informations. We probably think that they are not really important or that they cannot depict who we really are.
The point we come to is that if you collect all of these parts you will get the whole picture. I think this is the critical thing about social sites.
At the end of the day, even if we are convinced that it is no happening, we are giving a very clear idea of our digital being.
This data may be used by everyone, from head hunters to your employer to understand who you are and what you think.
I think that this is an issue to be considered where you sign up to a social website.
In the other side you may fake your digital self to appear someone who you are not. This is another interesting point. At least it seems we have some weapon on our side.