Social Media – Privately Public or Publicly Private?

  • PR

At Umpf, we’ve always been interested in how social media is blurring the boundaries of public and private. The debate about how much we can expect to term as private just stepped up a gear this week. News that the press watchdog has ruled that tweets will be classed as public information will undoubtedly cause concern amongst some in the Twitter fraternity.pcc

A ruling by the Press Complaints Commissions (PCC) will enable British journalists to lift tweets from Twitter because the PCC says quoting these in print or online does not “constitute a privacy intrusion”. Whilst we could argue both sides comprehensively, it does raise the issue of how private, or indeed, how public, social media really is.

Facebook users also got a nasty shock when Youropenbook launched, showing how ‘private’ posts on Facebook walls and status updates could be read even by unsuspecting bosses. Likewise, we might all be a little more careful next time we have an outburst on Twitter following the PCC’s ruling.

Social networks are perceived to be more private than they are, due in part to the fact that they are based on relationships; friends, family and business connections. We assume they’re private because we use them to engage with our nearest and dearest, but that’s a dangerous assumption to make.

Regardless of whether the PCC’s ruling will pave the way for further ‘nationalisation’ of social media content, one thing is certain; social media is definitely more public than many of us would like to admit.