Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Talking on the radio about Facebook

The story of a Quebec woman, Natalie Blanchard, whose insurance company cut off her disability payments after seeing pictures of her on Facebook, is getting a lot of headlines this week. That's likely because it illustrates, rather starkly, the perils of social media, and our seeming inability to understand them.

I've gotten a few phone calls from journalists about this. The Canadian Press published this piece by Sidhartha Banerjee, Quebec woman's Facebook insurance battle highlights need for online prudence. Precis published here as well.

I'm busy on the radio front, too, with an interview scheduled with 4fm, an Irish (!) radio station at about 1:15 p.m. EST today (Update: bumped to tomorrow...more details as I know 'em. Update 2: Interview airs WEDNESDAY at 1:15 p.m.) I'll be speaking with Tom McGurk, host of McGurk on 4. The station doesn't live stream over the Internet, but its shows are archived here. (Update 3: The producer has confirmed that they do, in fact have a live stream...I seem to have lost my vaunted ability to find resources like this online! To listen live, click here.)

In other news, I'll also be on-air with 570 News Kitchener's Jeff Allan at 11:05 a.m. EST to talk about new Canadian legislation that could require Internet service providers to spy on customers and snitch to police if they detect activity related to child porn. The Canadian Press also quoted me in a piece by David Friend and Diana Mehta, Ciena wins bid for Nortel's optical unit, offers jobs to 2,000 employees.

Facebook, porn and optical networking...should be a fascinating day indeed!

Your turn: Do you worry about Facebook, Twitter, blog and other social media postings coming back to bite you?


Tabor said...

I actually do. But not so much because I am an 'elder' It is those folks who will forget ten years from now what was shown or written and unless they are in the entertainment industry, they will most certainly have some embarassing regrets.

Thumper said...

I self censor a lot because I worry about how what I say online will come back to bite me in the tuckus. Someday I'll probably trip up... My worry is more about hurting the feelings of someone in my family and less about what I do online hurting me professionally...

Mojo said...

This is why I'm always careful about the photos I choose for my blog. I very rarely post photos of people at all, and when I do it's only if the photo in question meets very specific criteria. If the subject couldn't be picked out of a lineup using my shot as a guide, I don't worry about it. People too far away to make out detail or with their faces obscured in some way don't worry me (usually) unless there's something else in the picture that would identify them. But I do make exceptions to that rule in specific cases. If you are appearing/performing in a public venue where photography is allowed and if it could be reasonably expected that photos of that event could appear in the media then I don't have a conflict about blogging it. Let's face it, if you're Barack Obama giving a speech at a rally two blocks from my office, your face is gonna be on my blog. Period. If you're giving a dance performance at Dorton Arena that's open to the public, you can expect to turn up on Page 6 of the local paper. You can also expect to turn up on my blog. I figure if you didn't want people to see you dance, you wouldn't be on stage, right?

But then there are those "Girls Gone Wild" or "My Ex Girlfriend" videos. These aren't porn stars who make their living doing it for the camera. These are people who are maybe not even aware that there's a video camera around. And if they are aware, they're too impaired to make an informed decision to be broadcast to the entire living world. And yet, in a year or 5 or 10 or 20 that Spring Break video from college is going to turn up again. Maybe for some of them that's not embarrassing. But I'd bet they're in the minority.

There can be no expectation of privacy in a medium that's globally accessible. Those are just mutually exclusive concepts. But the fact is that most of us -- intentionally or otherwise -- are going to wind up on somebody's website sooner or later. There's no avoiding it unless you live in a cave somewhere. You can minimize your exposure, but the truth is that anybody who lives in an urban area is routinely photographed several times a day. And it's gotten nothing but worse since 9/11. there are eyes -- and cameras -- everywhere.

Sleepypete said...

Lol - I've censored a few of my own posts because, while I love where I work (good toys!), my employer wouldn't like it much if I posted about it. I also like to keep the blog anonymous, partly because a few of the people on my blogroll also keep their's anonymous.

Not talking about the bad also helps in a way too. I'll talk about the better people at work partly because it deflects away from thinking about the annoying people (plus the better ones deserve a good mention :-)

Facebook is another thing entirely - the access on that is a lot more locked down.

Been seeing a few stories over here about Facebook being Evil, mostly in Murdoch-Media ... Funnily enough Murdoch-Media doesn't thump Myspace. Myspace being owned by Murdoch-Media, Facebook isn't. Funny dat ;-)

PS Only 1 post on my blog that says where I work and there's just a few "Me" photos on blog & Facebook, all the photos have my head hidden in a helmet :-)

invisible said...

I heard the facebook insurance story on the radio, and thought good for the insurance company.
Gee, if I feel crappy, can I get paid time off and get my doctor to recommend I get out and enjoy life too?
Maybe Manulife will pay for my Maserati GT coupe, 'cause that'll cheer me up!

Anonymous said...

Most certainly do! Mainly I'm worried about people misinterpreting something meant in humour. Or things I wrote being read by colleagues and becoming gossip fodder.

Catherine said...

No. I don't have my last name on my blog, but if I did, I don't think that anything there would get me in too much trouble. And I don't have a Facebook page, or a Twitter account, and don't particularly want one.
I never post pictures of my family on my blog, or write about them, although if I really wanted to, I would ask them first.
Actually, we were discussing the legalities of posting photos of people on the internet - according to my husband, if you take a photo in a public place and there are people in it as an incidental part of the scene, you can use it, but if the person is the main feature, then you need their permission. (Not just for the internet, for any type of publication). I know copyright law varies a little from country to country but that sounds like a fair enough guideline to me.
I do wonder about parents who write about their toddlers' toilet training issues, blogging under their full names. Do they think about their child's friends searching for them on google in ten or fifteen years time?

Spa said...

Exactly. From what I observed in this generation there is a constant need to be "known" or "heard" to the point that the exercise of "freedom of speech" is transformed into something some may forever regret.