When I started blogging in 1998, it was on free services designed for just that thing. I walled my garden, created a “locked” blog, which only my friends could read.
Then, sometime around 1999, more of my friends complained that they wanted to read what I was writing. So I opened up my privacy settings. I got some weird reactions to posts I’d created years earlier, but that was par for the course – you’ve opened up an aspect of your life that was created without the expectation of openness about.
So what happened? My tone changed. That’s what happens. And everyone else? Some of my friends followed suit, and a lot of them stopped posting entirely. We called those frozen feeds – like podfading and other adoption-then-abandonment patterns, it was inevitably the people who hadn’t really bought in who lost out.
Flash forward. Facebook. Privacy issues galore. Part of the issue here is not the action, it’s the archive – just like it was with suddenly unlocked blogs, the expectation of future publicness doesn’t address the fear over past privacy.
Building a new expectation of publicness is not the issue. No one cares about privacy, they just hate being surprised. Services will give, or not give, the option for publicness or privacy as suits their business interests. How can we expect anything different?
This doesn’t apply just to Facebook and Google, or other services. This is about creating expectations, not only about new changes, but also about how your business intends to treat your previous, and future trust.
I don’t care, at the end of the day, if privacy settings are removed from social networks. Don’t like it? Don’t hit publish. But there does need to be a respect for the decisions people have made before the expectation of publicness was ever put forward. If we could only, in all of this privacy kerfuffle, just press a button that said “make everything from this date forward public, and leave everything in my history under the old settings.
And no one has said, in all of these arguments, word one about an “Archive as Private” option.