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Day 22: What i share online is not mine!

Picture Courtesy: Google Images
I am sure most of you I know (and don't know) own  at least one or more online profile. It could be a page like this, or a social networking site-FB, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and what not. As a marketer and a digital media, technology buff, I have always had a curiosity to understand this 'fantasy world'. I may not actually post much, but I have (or had) accounts on most sites. I created accounts on these to understand how that platform worked and so on. Well, as of now, I have a FB, Twitter, Pinterest account (besides other niche ones). I started Pinterest to do a research (it is still in the work-in-progress stage) on brands. Twitter was just to see if I can survive the 140 character writing feat (I cannot do that!). FB was for fun and then it became "the way" to connect to old folks and the new. I am right now on a detox mode and so, have deactivated my page.

I have evolved over time and even though I have always been careful about how and what I posted on these social media pages, I have become extra cautious in the recent times. Particularly, photos of self, loved ones or location disclosure. I have tried to be minimal with the personal information I have shared and, most often, it would be after a long thought process. If I say that social media has taken control of our lives, then that is a cliche. I don't think it has taken control, it is just that we live in a different world where social media operates a lot of things around us and that makes it easy for us to feel we belong by being a part of that huge bubble.

However, a lot of times, people forget and do not pay attention to what it says about privacy. There are many youngsters who have no clue about what is being done with the information you post. By youngsters, I mean undergrads or high school students. Most times, teenagers create accounts much earlier than the set age limit by showing fake year of birth. The reason I say, teenagers and young adults, is because a lot of research shows how they do not understand the term privacy and do not know what they should and should not share online as a public post. In fact, there are clean up workshops offered in most university career centers as that dictates their job opportunities. That said, even adults are not far behind in their lack of clarity on what privacy is on social media.

Just like how we say that everything in life has to be in moderation (balance or moderation is a subjective term, it depends on the person and their circumstances), the presence on social media and what is being shared there must be also in moderation. Social Media has been associated with negatives and positives. There are positive aspects and side to it. It helps in sharing knowledge, co-creation, collaborative space and even creating change waves across the globe.  On the other hand, there is data that shows how social media sites, in particular,  FB creates issues such as depression and low self-esteem. I wrote a poem on FB some time back. It was a take on these issues of feeling low and how, despite all that, it is addictive.

Now, coming back to privacy issues, have we ever thought of what will happen to those pictures or posts? In fact, as I was trying to deactivate my account a few weeks ago, I came across the link on FB settings that asked me to choose a friend to take care of my account after my death! Well, it is almost like writing a will and leaving it. This link about transfer of property must have been there for long, but I noticed it only recently. The reason, I am talking about these issues is because, I read a very interesting news just today on how a guy named Richard Prince is minting money by selling the artsy pictures of women who had posted their pictures on Instagram as a public post. Most pictures he had used had a slight sexual touch to the posing or the looks of the person in the photo. What he has done is that he took screenshots of those pictures and then deleted their captions and finally took a blown up picture. This display of art is called New Portraits at New York art gallery. The news says over $90,000 per picture, but I am not without doubt on if he made so much.

Apparently, none of us have any right to contradict him. I wonder how is it that possible. I think they are just looking at this from a copyright law point. They have no other hold to fight this.  I thought that these pictures were under the Instagram's copyright (the public images) and they might have a say on this.Richard, in fact has an Instagram account and has a huge follower base. However, he has been clever enough to not post anything.  He has been doing this for a while by using the photographs in magazines and retaking them and selling them artsy mode. That is why we say law always has loopholes and one thing we need to know is to know which ones we can use to escape or turn to our favor.

What is scary is how these laws and policies change and most times, we do not pay attention especially when we see the long document. These accounts collect information about everything you browse and there are ways in which marketers and others try to reach you. I am sure you must have observed a strange coincidence in the ads you come across on various sites, it would have been. I thought I will change my profile picture on my google plus today but decided against after I saw this news. Maybe I will be okay with the change of pictures, soon enough.  Soon after I forget this news! :)

Anyways, sharing the link of that news article. Please go through here. And, remember, be careful about what you share out there, especially, if it is something about your child/children.

Good night! 
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