How Private is Social Media?

A Social Media Privacy Discussion Piece

by Valley Lizard

I know people using social media in vastly different ways for a variety of purposes. How you use social media will often change how private you want it to be. Many celebrities have multiple social media accounts for different purposes, each with different privacy settings. Some celebrities have their public social media accounts run by a media professional. This job is called “ghostwriting“, which sounds pretty awesome to me. Honestly I would love to be a ghostwriter one day.

Whether you’re a cat, human or android you probably want privacy control. The more sentient a creature is and the more respect it has and the more privacy control it has. Take the Little Adventures YouTube channel for example. This channel’s video’s features guinea pigs. Their owner, Julia, explains about guinea pigs and how to look after them.

She explains in many of her videos how guinea pigs are very shy because they are prey animals and therefore love their privacy. In her videos the guinea pigs are the stars of the show with Julia herself only appearing briefly on camera. She of course does the narration of the videos. She tries to use her voice to give her guinea pigs a voice (even though guinea pigs are fairly loud anyway). The guinea pigs are like celebrities and Julia is like their manager. She does the filming, editing, selling merchandise, managing their social media accounts etc. In doing so she controls their privacy – to an extent. If her guinea pigs don’t want to be on camera they will scurry away and she’ll respect their decision.

If you’re part of the entertainment industry in Australia a good reference is the MEAA’s Journalist’s Code of Ethics. Although this specific set of codes is for journalists it is a good reference for anyone in the entertainment industry. While studying journalism I have interviewed various artists including Rosie Roulette. She understands as a journalist there’s certain things I can’t do. For example when interviewing her I can’t just touch her or her outfit without permission (see my previous blog post on cosplay is not consent).

Photos in public places at public events are super fun with Rosie Roulette. Photo copyright Valley Lizard 2018

It is especially important to understand privacy on social media with respect to children.  In a follow up post I will cover the issue of children and social media in more detail. For now just consider how long has it been since you checked your privacy settings on your social media account/s?

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