Tech Tuesday: Social Networking Sites

Social networking sites are interesting. Yes, they can offer great ways to keep in touch with old friends from school and university, organise events and be in the know about major changes in the lives of your acquaintances, but there is a dark side to it.

If you’re not carefully about privacy settings and security, you can put more out there than you intended. There are stories about people being fired for making comments about their job on Facebook.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, things can get much more sinister. The site Evil displays the phone numbers of unsuspecting people (note: maybe you shouldn’t respond to one of those “I’ve got a new phone, can you remind me your number” groups unless you’re sure it’s private) and there are examples of people who list their full address publically and then make announcements about the fact they’re going away. That’s basically an invitation to thieves that their house is empty.

If you’re sensible, you can avoid these things but being careful about what you post and making sure of your privacy settings. But I still find the idea intriguing. This is an update of 1984 waiting to happen!

A common theme in dystopian society stories is the idea of someone watching people’s actions and listening in on their conversations. Combine that idea with social networking websites and you can have a deliciously sinister turn on technology that people take for granted.

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