As if the state of California doesn’t have bigger fish to fry, California legislators have introduced SB 242, The Social Networking Privacy Act. This bill is supposed to protect the people of California from themselves. I am sure the people in one California valley don’t feel protected by this bill which seems to be developed by politicians who have no grasp of the technology and why people crave it.
This topic is near and dear to my heart. My business is based on providing tools to give companies, organizations and individuals the ability to build networks and communicate messages through them. It is the most pure form of publishing out there, allowing for a more perfect completion model in the market. A place where the cream rises to the top faster than the traditional communication filters of government, education and media allow. We really don’t need legislatures putting monkey wrenches in a near-perfect model which I believe is the unspoken best hope our current economy.
People engage in social media because they want to be heard and are interested in listening.
What social media has given the general public is access to the “Publish” button. Never before has the consumer had such direct access to each other and the businesses of which we are part. If I understand the bill correctly it would mean users to sites such as Facebook by default would be walled off from the rest of the Facebook users.
It is really absurd when you think about it. For some reason tools to which the public flocks, such as Facebook, are held to a different standard then traditional print media such as phone books. The FTC does the same thing when it treats bloggers to higher standards while protecting the hidden conflicts of interest in the traditional media. When a company blogs about a subject in which its target market is interested, is there any question in the mind of the consumer the company’s position on their products? If bloggers are willing to stake their reputation on a product or book for example, shouldn’t they be able to generate revenue from any clicks they generate?
I believe no one is going to have more concern about my privacy than me.
The solution to privacy concerns is education. The good thing is that any trusted network is transparent and provides multitudes of information on its policies. Social Media Basics every person from college kid to CEO should know:
1. Understand your communications channels: Read through Facebook’s help on privacy.
2. Assume the mic is always on: These channels are meant to be public, never say anything you wouldn’t want attributed to you in your local paper.
3. Trust but verify. Online media is more transparent than traditional content sources, but you still can’t trust everything you hear.
Use common sense when interacting online (or offline for that matter.) To the Senators of California: get your priorities straight, you could use a little common sense too.
Update: The bill was refused passage on 6/2/2011 with a 19-17 vote.