Friday, July 25, 2008

Thoughts on Web 2.0, community, and privacy

TomLATI's post this week got my thinking a bit about Web 2.0, community, and privacy.

I think everyone uses these tools for different reasons, and these motivations will effect how much of the default privacy settings they will want to modify. Personally, I tend to use my blogs and other Web 2.0 sites to meet new people with similar interests to me that I might not meet otherwise. After spending almost 7 years on Livejournal (omg, is that right? whoa, scary) I have made lots of new online friends, people I would never have met otherwise. Fellow Star Wars fans, Buffy fans, book fans, and so on. Now that I have met so many people, I like to leave my blog open so more can find me. So far I haven't had any incidents. I did mark my Facebook and MySpace profiles private, mostly because they link to other people and my real name is displayed on my account.

For this project, we talked about making blogs private and things like that, but the idea was for us to create a little online community to support each other through the training, and I was worried that adding the extra steps to create private blogs and send out invites (that subsequently might be eaten by spam filters) would not encourage new users to continue the exploration. So we just suggested that, if you were concerned, to use some sort of pseuodonym. Plus, who wants to use their real name online? It's fun to experiment with identity, and I think we have a relatively safe group here.

Part of me wishes I could invite "guest bloggers" from outside our system, state, or country, just so everyone could experience the chance to connect with someone outside the group. But another part of me hopes that those of you enjoying this project will keep playing around with the tools here and maybe bump into other people online with similar tastes and interests and make a virtual friend.
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