A Bill of Rights for social media users has people talking. I found this little tidbit by one of the commentators buried deep down on the page:
Ownership, Control, Freedom, and Transparency. Thanks for starting the ball rolling on this one, and sign me up. As more and more people move more of their lives online this is a must. As this happens, the online world must reflect the offline world more and more.
The sentence As this happens, the online world must reflect the offline world more and more caused me to have a gut reaction: God, I hope not!
There’s no real reason to make the Internet look more like off line living. None at all. For one thing, there is no governing body in cyberspace to enforce any kind of agreement. We are stuck with the laws of individual nations. I highly doubt that any nation would give up its sovereign right to establish its own laws with regard to privacy and similar issues, which would be necessary in order to establish a “one size fits all” solution for the entire Web. I don’t think it’s feasible – at least, no time soon.
That said, I think the Bill of Rights has some good things in it, though a couple of the items are impractical. The one I’m most concerned with is the last item in the Bill:
Allow their users to discover who else they know is also on their site, using the same external identifiers made available for lookup within the service.
In other words, we’d be asking social media sites to give up some level of privacy so that we could access the information of other people on their sites. This seems to be somewhat antithetical to the Bill’s aims. And I’m not sure that I’d want people just looking me up out of the blue to see if they can find me. My old college room mate, the guy I pissed off in eighth grade, my mother’s ex-boyfriend? Do I really want these people finding me when I don’t want to be found?
If I’m understanding this point correctly I think it’s a bit overdone. Every relationship has two parties. When it comes to social media, users ought not try to take away too much from the media itself or they’ll end up taking something away from themselves.