Privacy on the Internet?

COMM 2F00 Module 2

     I enjoy using social media sites as well as the Internet as a whole. Similar, to many people, I cannot see my life without the Internet. I use various social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest. Perhaps it is an oxymoron, but I prefer to stay somewhat private on the Internet. I prefer to keep Facebook more private than other websites. I enjoy sharing photos on Facebook so that friends and family can see what I am up to. I agree with Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe (2007) whom suggest that Facebook is used to maintain “existing offline relationships or solidify offline connections”, as opposed to meeting new people (Boyd & Ellison, 222). I use Facebook to connect with old friends while also keeping in touch with new ones. I believe Facebook is a good tool to maintain relationships with people you may not see very often. For example, cousins in Italy! Although, I have control over who views my content on Facebook I am still very reserved with what I would post. I feel I need to remain appropriate while also not exposing my personal life to the public (I also have my mom on Facebook). However, I am not even sure if “personal” is the same as it used to be. Is sharing on Facebook who your sister is personal? However, with this current private-public-personal dichotomy it is very interesting people still feel they can remain private online. “Online services offer their users the opportunity to be known by several different names” (Turkell, 1999,643). Often, when I am applying for jobs I will change my Facebook name so I cannot be searched so easily. This is one way to keep semi-anonymous while being in such a public domain.

    I also frequently use twitter. My tweets on twitter are blocked and only my followers can see. However, I do post a lot of tweets and allow my followers to see my semi-personal life in 140 characters or less in the public realm. Turkell (2012) argues that it is appealing for users to have Facebook pages or Twitter feeds when “no one is listening”. Often, I feel like I can post tweets on Twitter with the personal satisfaction that my message will be reached by someone. Oddly, it allows me to feel connected when there is no one to talk to, or no one is listening.

     Furthermore, I do believe social media allows us to present the self we want to be, in which we can edit and delete (Turkle, 2012). I have deleted posts or pictures from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in which did not portray my current self or perhaps the self I wanted to represent at the time. 

     Lastly, with so many people in modern society relying on the Internet for news, texting for conversation and tweeting as therapy, I believe privacy is necessary. Teaching people at a younger age about privacy on the Internet is so crucial today. Furthermore, I agree with Turkle (2012) who suggests making spaces (like the kitchen) to be alone, and making room for solitude! We are taking for granted this “alone together” time (Turkle, 2012). I know, in my own life I am trying to cut back from this “alone together” even if it means not texting, tweeting and so on in the passenger seat of a car. Life is short, and technology should not control our lives, we ought to embrace the moments spent with others!


Photo from:


Boyd, Dannah & Nicole B. Ellison “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship”  danah m. boyd Nicole B. Ellison Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication Volume 13, Issue 1, pages 210–230, October 2007

Turkle, Sherry. “Cyberspace and Identity” Contemporary Sociology Vol. 28, No. 6 (Nov., 1999), pp. 643-648

Turkle, Sherry. “The Flight From Conversation”. New York Times Sunday Review. April 21, 2012

Turkle, Sherry. “Places we don’t want to go” at TED2012



4 thoughts on “Privacy on the Internet?

  1. I find that I use Facebook to keep connected with friends, family and colleagues, especially those serving overseas. It is a great format for getting mass communications across in areas with limited internet access (or timed access), much like what our troops have available when deployed. I find with Twitter it is easier to maintain anonymity, but I find that I tend to be lazy in content and context and that I often find myself retweeting instead of creating my own material. Do you ever find yourself similarly plagued by “liking” and “sharing” on Facebook and “retweeting” on Twitter?

  2. One of the arguments Turkle made in her articles is that people do not actually connect with one another over social media websites. Turkle believes that Twitter, Facebook and Email “do not substitute for conversation” and that these websites produce artificial conversation. After reading your blog, I have realized that I do not agree with Turkles position. In your blog you have stated that you have family in Italy, and due to the distance you aren’t able to see them in person as often as you would like. Thus you communicate with them using social media outlets. I reject Turkles position because it is not easy to communicate face-to-face with someone who lives in a different country, and social media outlets are a convenient way to connect with your family. Turkle would argue that connecting with your family in Italy over Facebook or Twitter is artificial communication, however I disagree and I believe that it is convenient and sincere. I as well have family overseas and I use Facebook to communicate with them.

  3. The alone time is definitely what I feel most out of touch with sometimes! I find myself thinking that this alone time is when I am cooking or doing some sort of household work but it often just leads to me with my headphones in! I think everyone refers to feeling kind of like a pioneer when their internet does not work and sadly I identify with that. I think that Turkle should have discussed that you can properly communicate with someone in a technical way but there can be that physical aspect lost. Maybe it is because there were not the outlets that there are now like skype etc. I really believe there are positives and negatives with social media and it is so interesting hearing everyone wrestle e with both ends of the argument. I really enjoyed your take!

  4. I would have to agree with most of you regarding the importance of virtual communication on our everyday lives. We communicate with others very easily though social networks such as facebook and twitter, and it really has become second-nature to most of us to utilize these networks on a daily basis when seeking to converse with peers. Even though we may not notice it immediately, our habits of living “online” can drastically change the overall quality of life. The arguments presented by Turkle in her article state that we are unable to truly “connect” by methods of virtual communication. My experiences would oppose this view, as I have family and friends who are thousands of miles away, yet i am still able to share experiences and stories with them. We are increasingly substituting genuine, face-to-face conversation with virtual conversation.

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