Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Times are Changing...So Should Your Expectations

So, what is privacy?

One would think that this is a pretty easy question to answer...until you start to, well, answer it. Webster's says that privacy is:

"{noun} The quality or state of being apart from company or observation."

Ok, that definition maybe worked pre-techie age, I guess. Privacy used to mean that you got to spend your time in the bathroom with the door closed and by yourself. [Parents, you know exactly what I mean.] Thus, you were apart and free from observation.

In the advent of technology, the internet and social media, privacy comes to mean an entirely different thing. There are now levels of privacy (low, medium, high, super mega high). There are also now levels of assumed privacy.

All in all, my answer to what is privacy must relate back to "It depends". I know you think this is a cop-out, but it truly does depend.

For me, privacy (or my expected level of privacy) depends upon what I am doing or where I'm at. If I'm at home studying, writing or reading, I expect there to be a level of privacy. This simply means that my family will have the courtesy to not interrupt me. If I'm on the phone, I want (note, I have kids so I never fully expect) privacy and to not be eavesdropped upon. If I'm online, I want my private information protected.

Now, back to the on the phone and on the internet....While I WANT privacy in both instances, my want and what I expect to happen are two different things. I expect that my kid will eavesdrop while I am talking on the phone. Therefore, I choose my topics and words carefully. [I believe someone once said something like "Out of the mouths of babes."...yeah, you'd be surprised what they hear and remember.] Further, I enter each internet visit, transaction, social media post in the same manner. If I don't want the world to know what I am thinking or doing or wearing, I refrain from posting it, because I realistically know that ANYONE can see it.

So, privacy depends on the situation. But, just because we expect to have privacy, it doesn't mean that said privacy will be granted.

What do you think?

[This post is part of the #letsblogoff series. The question for this week was "What is this thing called privacy?"]

If you would like to see how the other participants responded, please check out www.letsblogoff.com or the table below:


Jamey said...


I agree. I think there is a great discrepancy between the privacy we want and what we think we deserve and the actual level of privacy that exists. I'm not some looney conspiracy theorist but I'd venture to say that most of who we are and what we do is capable of being discovered... of course, I pity anyone seeking to find out more about me; it's a rather boring story to be sure.

Hope you're doing well.


Todd Vendituoli said...

I think you are absolutely correct about how much we share. If you choose to share ever single detail of your life that's great but then you can't really complain about the lack of privacy. I share a lot but not everything!

Scott Thoughts said...

I agree Amy... privacy is a moving target.

Have you ever posted a pic of a coffee cup and your text book from your house? Giving people a glimpse inside that circle? I have! haha

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, I agree.

Ginny Powell said...

Great post and I agree totally! I am careful what I post on line and even in emails. But since I don't have kids I never get disturbed while in the bathroom!

Paul H said...

Yes, there is a lot of truth that one must take care to post information wisely. Once it's out there it can't be taken back.

It is scary to think how much of our privacy we freely give away as individuals and collectively as a society.