This blog has looked at and gone down many privacy avenues. Usually they are related to your online identity or your online privacy. Avenues firmly routed in a world that this company exists in. But for many people their online world and their real lives are colliding. What has long been known as “our private lives” is quickly losing ground and becoming far more public than we would like despite our best attempts compartmentalize our world.
This February CBS did an article about a teacher, her Facebook, and what happens when public life meets private life. You can read the full article here. To summarize the article: A school teacher went on a summer vacation to travel Europe. She (like so many other people) took photos to chronicle her journey. You know the kind of photos, they are what you share with friends to show that little café in Italy that made the best gelato you have ever had, or just what the Eiffel Tower looks like looking up from the base. So that you have images when words aren’t enough. But the problem didn’t stem from those photos. It stemmed from her time in Ireland where she got a photo of herself with a glass of wine and Guinness.
She took that photo, as well as all of the others, and put in on her Facebook to share with friends and family. She even set her Facebook to private to avoid the collision of her two worlds. Despite all of those conscientious precautions a student’s family member saw the photo and reported the teacher to the administration. Shockingly the teacher was then offered the choice of being suspended or resigning. She resigned and is now fighting for her job.
So why do we find this worth writing about? Why did that article make it to this blog? Because it is a prime example of our shrinking world. Our online identities as well as the details of our private lives are making it into the public eye (and by proxy our public lives) quite often and definitely more than we want, like, or expect.
The problem is that it is getting to the point that it is impossible to keep anything personal or private. The only way would be to never share our stories, photos, moments, or lives with other people. This is in direct opposition to the fact that we are not solitary creatures. Our doctors, our nurses, our teachers, our police, our judges, psychiatrists, and everyone else you can think of are normal people. They have normal impulses, and outside of work lead normal lives. These same people are at a crossroads. Do they stay behind the times, have no online identity, and live in fear of when personal meets private? Or do they fight like this teacher is doing and push for privacy and the right to exist and be normal outside of the workplace? Where do you stand? How important is your privacy to you? Is it worth protecting?