Social networking and information policy

Social networking and information policy

What policy issues have resulted from social networking?


Based on your reading of three (3) of the above readings on issues related to online identity, privacy and/or trust. Think about online identity in relation to both individuals and organisations:

  • what is important in terms of how we present and manage those identities online?
  • what can we share and what should we retain as private to the online world?

Post a 350 word summary of important issues around online identity to your learning journal.

As I read 8 Tools to Track Your Footprints on the Web, I was struck by how easily one’s online identity can be tracked, and how one can get continuous updates on where their name is being used online. These tools can be used by an individual to look at their own online reputation, but I believe it could be used to track other people. Because of this, I feel that it is more important than ever for individuals and organisations to be careful with their online identities.

An “online identity” is more than what you say about yourself on your SNS (Social networking site) profiles. In Wikidentities: Young people collaborating on virtual identities in social network sites, the authors discovered that other factors have an impact on how your online identity is judged: The kind of friends you have on your friend list, the pictures that you are tagged in, and even posts written by others on your page.

I believe that for individuals, this means that they need to take extra care with who they choose to connect with online, as the behaviour of other users can reflect on them. From an organisational point of view, any official SNS profiles would need to be diligently monitored. Additionally, they may not wish to let employees discuss work-related issues online, as the employees online identity is then linked to the organisation.

Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning: Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook uses the following example to illustrate how difficult it is to manage one’s reputation online as they would in real life:

Ben (a marketer for an educational firm) told me, on multiple occasions, how frustrated he was with the “context collision” created by Facebook’s flattened Friend hierarchy, where by default, everyone is given access to the same personal information. As a result a user’s teetotaler boss sees the same things as their best friend, the party animal.


Whereas in real life we are able to choose who knows which details about our life, online we are equally exposed to anyone who can access our SNS profile. Individuals need to be careful which details they wish to share about their private lives, and organisations need to share only things that can be known to the general public.



Davis, L. (2009). 8 tools to track your footprints on the Web, February 1. Available

Mallan, K. & Giardina, N. (2009). Wikidentities: Young people collaborating on virtual identities in social network sites, First Monday, 14(6), 1 June. Available

Raynes-Goldie, K. (2010). Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning: Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook, First Monday, 15(1), 4 January. Available 



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s