A recent review in the New York Times of Jeff Jarvis’ new book, Private Parts, brings to light the lingering doubts of what or what not to expose to the Internet. According to Jarvis, there still exists a group of people who fear the ‘change’ technology brings. Well, who doesn’t fear change?
We are creatures of habit; not everyone jumps right into the deep end of the public pool. However, Jarvis preaches of embracing a concept that he titles ‘publicness’. With this definition, it is understood that while several more personal aspects of a company should not be broadcasted, neither should they be denied.
Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Gaggle, and various other launch pads, make it nearly impossible to escape the ‘digital-always-connected’ world; Jarvis’ reasons that society will adapt, in the same way it always has, through a combination of integration and adaptation into normal everyday life, such as work and the personal sphere.
The Internet machine of social media and blogger’s galore though is evolving at a monumental rate. No one can predict the full effects it will have on our society in the future, from older to younger generations; there exist only guesses and estimations.
Because of this unknown factor and the Net’s increasing expansion, people of a more pessimistic nature say that the public and private sphere will no longer be separate. Jarvis disagrees; he believes that they never were separate. Public knowledge and private life depend upon one another. How does one define privacy anyway? Once something is shared on the Internet, isn’t it a free-for-all? Can something private even exist on the Internet? Sure there are locks, legalities, and security measures abound, but once it’s out there, there is always the chance of it going further, and limits have yet to be found when it comes to the Web’s ever growing boundaries.
In response to this growth, revealing personal aspects can promote honesty in both a company and social atmosphere therefore improving how we as both co-workers in this economy and fellow human beings interact. However, although it is better to be honest, there is the possibility of over-sharing.
Consider yourself on a first date. Would you reveal all the faults and flaws, the nasty little details about yourself, right away to the person sitting across from you? Or would you wait cautiously and interpret what should or should not be shared by gauging your audience? The same approach should be used on the Internet when a company is promoting itself. There is always the danger that one little smidgeon of info reveals too much for one group but too little for another. Like Jarvis says, in these modern times, the Internet and society mold one another; the only question left for companies now: Are you going to roll with the punches, or just go all the way?