I was part of a discussion on LinkedIn the other day. Before I tell you about it, let me explain what LinkedIn is, for those who aren’t familiar with it. Essentially it’s a professional social networking website.
When you sign up, you create a ‘profile’, not unlike a Facebook timeline. But without all the personal info and photographs. And, like with Facebook, one of the objectives is to get as many ‘contacts’ (friends) as you can. Because through each of your contacts, you have an opportunity to network with their contacts.
One of the features it offers is the ability to visit these profiles anonymously. Or not, it’s up to you. You have the choice.
So last Thursday, I think it was, I was there. On LinkedIn. One of my contacts posted about her annoyance with people who check out her profile without revealing their identity. They use the ‘anonymous’ feature. She berated LinkedIn for having it. And said it should no longer be available.
Her point being, privacy has no place on social media.
Well, I disagree. Pretty strongly, actually. And added my two cents to the comments already there. All the other people agreed with her. Which I have to say, I found very disturbing. Nothing to do with my ego, by the way.
This, particular, incident isn’t really the issue. It’s really just a symptom of something much bigger. Much more of a concern. Privacy in general.
What’s disturbing to me is, the sense of entitlement we now seem to have. We think we have a right to know anything and everything about each other. Anything and everything about celebrities, athletes, tycoons and even politicians. We’ve become a society of voyeurs. And when something, or someone, stands in our way we stamp our feet and pout. We don’t like it.
Years ago, prying was the exclusive province of tabloids. But now everyone’s in on the act. Nothing’s sacred any more. It’s open season. And I’m sorry, but I don’t think we’re better for it. I think we’re worse off. And if all the newspapers and magazines and news, infotainment and entertainment shows aren’t bringing enough of the dirt to our doorsteps, mailboxes, inboxes and TV screens, the celebs, themselves, are baring all in their reality shows.
Call me crazy but I have no interest in watching Paris Hilton have sex. I don’t care why Kim Kardashian and Chris what’s-his-name broke up, five minutes after they got married. I’m not interested in listening in on their arguments. I don’t want to know what goes on in the hot tub between the bachelor and his bimbos. And on and on it goes.
Somebody tell me why knowing whether or not Jodi Foster is a lesbian, is any of our business. Tell me why Adele should be obliged to tell us her baby’s name. Presidents (of the White House variety) have been having affairs for centuries. Nobody knew. And I’d wager to say, no one would EVER have dared ask. Yet look what happened to Bill Clinton. All we SHOULD have been concerned with, was whether or not he was a good President. The rest is between him, his wife, his conscience and the women he slept with.
Women the world over should be grateful to Betty Ford for going public when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. As should all those who are victims of substance abuse. Her courage has brought important issues out into the open, where they can help millions and millions of people; and also save millions and millions of lives. But it was her CHOICE. She CHOSE to share.
She wasn’t ‘outed’. It wasn’t tweeted by someone who may not even have known her. Or ‘leaked’ to a newspaper by someone who had no regard for her right to privacy.
But that was back in the good old days. When we still had a moral compass to guide us. Before we lost our civility.
Before we decided the right to know took precedence over the right to keep it to ourselves. If and when we so choose.