My life on Twitter part 3: How much Privacy do I need?


The easiest way to communicate to my oldest daughter (21) is via Facebook. Last week she posted a photograph of me (and her). You can see the photo above. This is her (second?) birthday. Looks like great fun… It’s probably early in the morning, just before I go to work. Question is: do I want others to see this photograph? Fortunately my community on Facebook is very small, just some family and friends. No work relations. Will it harm my image as serious HR executive when people get this picture in their mind if they google me just before they visit me for an important job interview?
How much privacy do I need? To plan my travel I use a fantastic tool TripIt. All the trips I made were published on LinkedIn (don’t ask me why I allowed this ….). When my wife was shopping in the local supermarket, people approached her asking “Is Tom away again? What is he doing in London/ Denver/ ….”). I quickly put the privacy button on ‘traveler only’. So, I do not want to know all people to be able to see where I am. Although? FourSquare is another app I use. In FourSquare you register where you are, and you can share this information with your friends. On FourSquare I have three friends: my other daughter, my son and my brother. They can see where I am, and this can be very useful. Couple of weeks ago we were visiting a small town in the south of the Netherlands, my brother coincidentally also was there, he saw on Foursquare where I was and we spend some good time together. My son can see when I leave the office, allowing him enough time to quickly start with his home work.
The borders of my privacy needs are not so clear. I have nothing to hide, but what is the use if everybody can see the results of my very poor tennis match of seven years ago that is still hanging around in cyberspace? To what charities I donate? Where I spend my holidays? How fast/slow I can run?
Based on my experience so far I can distill the following personal guidelines:
– My professional experience and current professional challenges can be open for everybody. It is very useful if people I am about to meet already know my background via LinkedIn. This safes a lot of time.
– I make a distinction between work and family and friends. I know security can be an issue, so I am careful not to post strange photo’s and texts anywhere (but to what extend can I avoid that others do this?)
– I like to share views and opinions, as a way to have conversations with people I know and new people. Twitter in combination with blogging seems to work well.
– For security reasons I would like to avoid that people know where I am. Burglars could track my address and empty the house while we are enjoying a short holiday in Italy (NOT this week)
– Whatever I post, wherever I post it, I take into account that everybody might see it.
The future will tell. If I look at my children I can see they are less bothered about privacy. Their Facebook photos and interactions, their tweets do not show a lot of privacy considerations. Total transparency will come closer, although others will see this as a fearful future, where not only Big Brother, but all the brothers and sisters are watching you.

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