When it comes to social media, how private is private and how public is public? Since we access digital spaces through gadgets, our participation and interaction is mediated through a platform and interface. We are in private and public spaces at once. You might sit behind a computer screen in your office or flip on your phone from the confines of your bedroom to enter the online world.
Social media is a space that is designed for us to connect and share personal matters with our friends and family - from photographs to snippets to important, life-changing announcements. It’s also a space where we engage with our communities, find out and announce information to the world and mobilise for social and political change. At the same time, these spaces are owned by private companies that monitor and track our information and activities and sell them for a profit.
On social media, both public and private are compromised and sometimes contradictory. This can make women face violence in new ways. We don’t always draw the line between what is private and what is public in our own use. Do we pause when we share someone else’s photograph? Or post information about ourselves or others that could be read by those beyond who is intended?
When information is moved from one circle of trust to another, this can become an act of violence. For example, there have been recent cases of online harassment when personal photographs are taken from social media accounts without permission and collated into a kind of “dating” site.
So how public is this public space? And how far is privacy important for you on social media? Where and when do you draw the line?
Define what online public space means to you and when something is private. Start a conversation on your social media: ask your network to draw their lines!
Pose a question on your social media: What is private and what is public in this space? And what context would change them from private to public, and public to private?
Is the answer different on Twitter, Facebook, WeiBo or instant messaging spaces like WhatsApp, WeChat, LINE, etc.?
See where the conversation takes you, how people define public spaces differently and where they draw their lines--if they even draw them!
Use Wordle to make an image with the words from your conversation and share it with us! Send us a tweet @takebackthetech and use #takebackthetech, or let us know what happened by commenting on this page. You can also blog about it.
Complicate the idea of social media. Spark a conversation on what these blurred lines mean for all of us.