Let’s not panic. Media stories about how Facebook users could become victims of identity theft, seduced by perverts or recruited by neo-Nazis shouldn’t drive identity management strategy. As an excellent article in Spiked highlights, the Facebook fright is driven more by a suspicion of the apparently unpredictable and unwieldy web-surfing generation than by facts or true stories. What’s more,
It seems that wherever the cyber masses converge, there will always be an expert, therapist or man in white coat issuing warnings to them about the harm they might be doing to themselves and to others.
It seems that the web from its earliest days has been seen as unregulated and ungovernable (neither of which are true, it’s just that it’s mutating faster than the regulators), an out-of-control, free-for-all platform for paedophiles and terrorists. All of the characteristics of the web that have made it a space for innovation and experiment are seen as being in some way dangerous, and the Facebook panic is just the latest manifestation of the same.
Which brings us on to the other part of the current panic about social networking, that potential employers may review your history online. I have to say that this is a genuine issue, in my opinion. Not only might potential employers do this, but actual employers already do. A substitute judge lost his position with the North Las Vegas Justice Court last week because of hostile comments aimed at prosecutors on his MySpace page. But surely any employer who takes seriously anything on a MySpace page deserves all they get. I hope potential employers take the time to look at my MySpace page, which says that I was too busy helping sick children at the orphanage to take time off to go and pick up my Nobel prize.
These opinions are my own (I think) and are presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]