Saw a few more panels, but Danah Boyd on “Privacy and Publicity” was definitely a stand out. It’s easy to get in a muddly info-overload state with about 25 different talks/events an hour for about 9 hours. But as you hope for in an opening keynote, this talk was clear and had an important message that needs to be heard.
Boyd spoke of how reckless we are with privacy in this orgy of social media and showed us some of the real casualties. She brought up excellent points on the qualities and value of privacy and the perils of celebrity, especially when it’s forced. She discusses how far-reaching changes in Facebook privacy rules were rolled out in a careless and exploitive manner and goes into some consequences you probably never thought about. There are many whose lives depend on controlling this information – like those who have been abused by a partner or family member or children of illegal immigrants. There are also groups like teachers who can’t complicate their identities among their students without consequences and of course kids and teens who don’t always realize the consequences of what they’re doing. She also discusses the implications of using aggregators to find and feature personal content.
It’s a must-hear for anyone designing features and systems for social media. It comes down to respecting your users over irresponsible experimentation in a ruthless quest for being the next internet meme.