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back to article Web is turning us into kid-ults with no 'private identities' - report

Britons' willingness to post every little detail of their lives online is changing the way their identities are constructed, according to a report from the UK’s chief scientific advisor. The web is having a profound effect on how Brits see themselves and how they relate that identity to the world around them, Professor Sir John …

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Anonymous Coward

I hope a kind of homeostatis kicks in

as people begin to tire of social networking and gadgetry, and we can gradually return to a sane world of real world interactions. (He says whilst posting on an internet forum!)

But maybe it won't. Maybe that's the future and luddites like me will be left behind.

I'm curious about the mindset of a lot of twitter users and highly active facebook status-updaters. Do they think they have something interesting and unique to say- that they are special somehow? Or are they fully aware that they are just an insignificant crumb in an infinite pile of crumbs, and tweeting is their way of avoiding that painful fact?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I hope a kind of homeostatis kicks in

In my experience the highly active Facebook folk tend to be the attention seeking types, so in a way, yes, they do think they always have something interesting to post. Most of twitter just seems to be verbal diarrhoea.

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Re: I hope a kind of homeostatis kicks in

Yes my friend, yes they do think that they have something special to say - just like all of us on here :) But at least here it's a specific debate with like minded individuals and I have no idea what your real name is and don't see any photos of you. I have a Facebook account but it's set to private and all my photos are set to friends only. I have a Twitter account but I'm aware that i'm shouting into the ether and it's very rare anyone will pay attention, even my actual friends - and I slightly object when a friend asks me a question on Twitter rather than call or send a text.

The craziness that I just don't understand is younger people (under 25, possibly under 30) who think it's perfectly fine to put their entire lives on Facebook for everyone to see. They have no concept of a private life and don't VALUE having privacy. I don't know what the answer is; better education, self consciousness and self awareness courses at school, helping raise kids' self confidence, giving them something to strive for other that the most views on fricken YouTube or most retweets maybe?

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Anonymous Coward

The Springer generation ..

> The craziness that I just don't understand is younger people (under 25, possibly under 30) who think it's perfectly fine to put their entire lives on Facebook ..

It's not just Facebook, we see the same kind of people turning up on reality television progs (TOWIE). It's got to the stage where they don't get on 'real' (second division) celebrities but ordinary members of the public. Whether it's dating, child-birth or surgery on yer todger, it's all deemed acceptable for public entertainment. You see the younger people all grew up watching reality soaps like Eastenders, so they've come to the conclusion that unless they have issues, they aren't leading 'real' lives. I call it the Springer generation .. or Kyle Generation if you live in Britain Land ...

Jeremy Kyle

The Only Way Is Essex

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Big Brother

I admit

I avoid social networking sites like the plague. I wonder how many of the current using generation will find stupid posts and embarrassing facts coming back to haunt them later in life. So few people seem to fail to realise that once it's on the web it's there for good. Big brother won't forget.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I admit

Darned right. It will be like grannies with "tribal" or "Celtic" butt tattoos in their 70s.

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Bronze badge

Re: I admit

Not really

unless

1. People in the future start walking round with their arses hanging out (could happen!)

or

2. The grannie ends up old and bitter about life and the tattoo is a reminder of something unpleasant.

But having made that comment I assume you don't have tattoos.

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Re: I admit

It's not just "social networking" site. I dug up some embarrassing posts a cow-orker of mine posted on Usenet in the 90s. In fact posts of Facebook are more likely to be buried and lost than Usenet, web forum or logged IRC posts.

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Re: I admit

but people who are now in their 20s are going to look fantastic when they are in their 70s due to technological and medical advances. in 50 years time, being 70's going to be like being 40 now...but they'll only look 25.

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Bronze badge

Re: I admit

Maybe people will just begin to get over the idea of people having made embarrassing statements in their past.

Previously, we sometimes made embarrassing mistakes or said things that were a bit stupid and generally this wasn't recorded. That meant that if someone unearthed one of these past indescretions, it stood out as unusal and made an impact. In future, when anyone can go back and look at everything a person did or said, it might just become so normal that nobody gives a crap any more.

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Silver badge

Re: I admit

"Darned right. It will be like grannies with "tribal" or "Celtic" butt tattoos in their 70s."

As opposed to now where we have grannies with tattooed eyebrows and blue-rinses? Norms change. When people with tribal tattoos and tramp stamps reach pensioner age, kids won't be seen dead with these tattoos because they're for 'old people'.

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Thumb Down

Tattoos

are probably the only thing better at informing hiring decisions than UKIP badges.

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Anonymous Coward

> ...and employers start to look at social online presence as well as professional qualifications for prospective employees.

I don't have a social on-line presence, at least not as far as a prospective employer is concerned. My social life, on-line or otherwise, is heavily fire-walled from my professional life and any attempt to breach that is likely to lead me politely excuse myself from the interview.

The phrase "None of your fucking business" springs to mind.

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Anonymous Coward

+1

I once started work with some guys that were initially scared of me because they couldn't find me online! ;)

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Thumb Up

Agreed.

Whilst I get along just fine with all (well...most) of my co-workers, none are "connected" to me outside business hours. If we want to catch up outside work, it's organised face to face - as far as I'm concerned, we spend 40 hours a week together, if my co-workers or employer need to tell me anything, there's ample time to do it without disclosing the rest of my personal life through social media.

Also, if a prospective employer wants to see my entire personal life before employing me, they're obviously not that interested in the skills I'm bringing to the job, and if they're not honest enough to come out and simply say that, I'll look elsewhere.

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Silver badge

Re: Agreed.

Being in network security, I've had a few issues with potential employers not being able to find me on the web - at least until I point out that considering what I do for a living it makes sense not to have all my personal details online. Most of them realise the issues once they are pointed out to them, but it kinda scares me that they have to have it pointed out to them (a lot of the time I work for banks!)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Agreed.

Spot on Sir Runcible.

I made a decision NOT to sign up for any social network site OR for things like OpenID where you use the same ID in many places.

If you do a search for me in Bling or Google you get nothing and that is the way I like it.

Like you employers raise an eyebrow when the can't find me in Facebook or Twitter. I had my identity stolen around forty years ago and the guy who did it got on the national news more than once. That tends to keep them happy but actually I have better things to do with my time. My second novel is about to be published.

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Re: Agreed.

@Esskay

Agree 100% - I already spend enough hours with my co-workers too, both at work, sometimes lunch and the occasional after hours pub crawl. The only connection they have to me after hours is via work cell phone or work email.

I live here in the states, NYC area and not once has any employer inquired about my absence on social networking in general - I have been subject to fingerprinting and background checks for all but a few contracts but no interest has been taken in my internet life with the exception of co-workers. When asked why I don't use FB, twitter et al I always reply:

A) I have a life

B) I'm not an attention span-disadvantaged teenager

Somehow they always take offense to this which is pretty much the way it was intended.

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Silver badge

Re: Agreed. @AC 14:22

If you do a search for me in Bling or Google you get nothing and that is the way I like it.

Oh yeah? A Google search on Anonymous Coward brings up "About 4,320,000 results."

My second novel is about to be published.

Who's it by?

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Re: Agreed. @AC 14:22

"My second novel is about to be published."

"I am working on my second billion dollars. I gave up on the first." Minnesota dairy farmer ca. 1958, was orig: million.

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Big Brother

"make effective use of identities as a resource”

Why does that sound like what I'm worried it sounds like...?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "make effective use of identities as a resource”

Because id cards are coming back by stealth?

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Anonymous Coward

I remember the days...

before t'interweb thingy was around. No Bookface, Twatter, at al, life was simple and easy. No computers, and NO MOBILE phone!! Ah, the early 70's....

Like many here, I've worked in IT for a quite a while now, yet I refuse to have anything to do with Facebook, I have had a twitter account for 2 years and have - oooh - 12 posts. I have Linked In account and do use that but beginning to wonder about them... I like my privacy. "Oh, so if you have nothing to hide what's the problem? " - anyone else fed up with hearing that? Privacy is my choice, my right. If you want to blast every second of your life across the world then that's yours. Don't force it on me.

And the "make effective use of identities as a resource” bit worries me too!

You try telling the kids today that Google never forgets (mine ignore me). They won't believe you!

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Unhappy

"Simple and easy", was it?

I remember back in the early eighties deciding to have beans for tea. Back then, I had to go to the phone (landline, mind you) and from my hand-written phone book phone everyone I knew to tell them I was having beans for tea. Some of them wouldn't be in so I'd have to call back later, some I'd leave messages with whoever did answer the phone. Telling just 20 people that I was having beans for tea took well over an hour.

And THEN Bodger Bob would want to say "Beans are legend lol" so he'd have to phone me back to ask who I'd phoned originally, so then HE would have to call them all to say "Beans are legend lol". It used to take hours just to tell everyone what you were having for tea. Now that can be done of the Facebook in minutes.

You tell kids, they won't believe you. They won't.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I remember the days...

"You try telling the kids today that Google never forgets (mine ignore me). "

Google is apparently limited, and unpredictable, in its ability to find things.

For example: Using Google to trawl for my old comments on people's Flickr pictures is very hit and miss. Quite often it can't find anything with a key of a very specific word plus my Flickr ID. Varying the choice of word sometimes brings up the desired entry - and lo! - in the same piece of short text is also the word it couldn't match earlier. There seems to be neither rhyme or reason to what it does, or does not, find in those cases. It rarely finds all the Flickr pictures where my comments regurgitated a piece of factual data.

Google is useful - but it is not a totally reliable way to find things. However, given the volume of data on the web, it is like a dog walking on its hind legs - the wonder is that it can do the trick at all.

Now retired - I haven't lost the ingrained IT paranoia. Occasionally I use Google to see how visible my name is on the web. So far it has only been compromised by historical paper articles that belatedly were published to the web as archives. However relatives keep doing their best to expose my pseudonyms, or email addresses, to their "friends".

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, but 'hyper-connectivity' goes both ways. The vast majority of mouth breathers out there simply don't understand that, then moan about it after the fact.

Most of these people move beside airports cuz that's where the cheap houses are, then complain endlessly about the noise.

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Unhappy

Got as far as...

"Hyper-connectivity is driving social change and expectations"

At which point my talking-bullshit-o-meter went to Red Alert and my brain told me to leave, before it gets infected.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Privacy? Hadoop, FB etc did that in ages ago.

Which is why I shun people who use FB and don't let people take my picture to post and be 'patterned' on t' web.

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Alert

Twatbookin

I am on Farcebook & LinkedOut but am considering trying to get shot of both. They don't add anything for me, don't help me with anything and are a constant drain on my time. I never bothered with Twatter as I hate the "cult of celebrity" and outside of a very small group of friends & collegues I don't give a **** what anyone else thinks. I do read postings on forums like this one and some of it is useful and some is entertaining, but this forum doesn't email me every 2 days to ask why I haven't been on the forum. Yes, it does seem as if there is such a thing as too connected.

Me, I'm going for Privacy now. I may be gone some time!

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Big Brother

Re: Twatbookin

"but this forum doesn't email me every 2 days to ask why I haven't been on the forum. "

YET!

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Terminator

re:Twatbooking

Are we all free to use this term? .. or may be FaceTwatting is better.

@ Anonymous Coward 12:26 I just did a google search on your name .. I'm afraid your social on-line presence is massive!

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Silver badge

Re: re:Twatbooking

Yeah, 90% of the posts on /. for starters.

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Anonymous Coward

It will always haunt you

Back in the 90's I visited some 'spicy' usenet sub forum and asked for more info on a French video about animals filmed at a zoo doing the nasty (This was before Youtube where you could satiate your curiosity on the birds and the bees to your hearts content).

I did a Google search on my name last year and lo' and behold there is that same posting on some data harvesting site. I now wonder who else will find it and use it as another excuse to pass over my CV.

These days I try to avoid putting myself in such situations but even though I use a fake name on FB etc my Gmail links back in and my sisters FB posts stuff about me here and there and it all gets linked back into the data harvesting machine. I often get emails from FB asking if I know this person. The various online databases operating now all link back with one another and feed it into the machine and you get found out for who you really are.

It's quite frustrating. I pity those who are more free with their personal information and 'unusual' tastes.

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paradox

I can't help but wonder why software engineers, who build these social systems, are among the less likely to use them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: paradox

Isn't it said that doctors make the worst patients?

It's like Frankenstein's Monster. It always seems an interesting idea at the time. Then as the creation takes on a life of its own we are best placed to understand the implications of its (mis)use - too late!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: paradox

Back in the days when you could build something with valves and not get laughed at, Wireless World remarked in an editorial that engineers had developed television, but looking at what it was used for, perhaps they shouldn't have done.

I used to love WW, especially after they published an article I wrote. One thing that used to amuse me was that at the time GCHQ was still very secret and someone I knew who worked there was never supposed to mention it, but there were frequently recruiting ads in the back of WW which made it abundantly clear what the jobs entailed, and that they were in the Cheltenham area.

Since the occasional Russian contributed to WW, usually about audio amplifier design, the point of the security seems rather missing.

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Anonymous Coward

70 year old people in the future will look 25

Let me guess, and will be driving flying cars and spending the weekend on the moon?

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Bronze badge
Terminator

The quantum thief

"The quantum thief" has an interesting take on this. walking down the street people adjust privacy settings, to the point where you can filter out your appearance from being seen by strangers, but conversely you can have it so people look at you and know your employment and relationships statuses etc (as well as certain memories being accessible but that's out of scope here)

it seemed like a logical extension of how social networks are putting down new rules of how we feel we should interact and present ourselves

Really good book if anyone gets a chance to pick it up

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Write-only memory: Posts are sometimes more for the benefit of the poster than the readers

Be it attention seeking, approval, need to impress etc.

...which goes against the idea that imparting information is for the benefit of the recipients.

In computing we have Read Only Memory, ROM, that permanently stores data, information. With social media and networking, I suggest we now also have Write-Only Memory, more of a concept about people's interaction than the technical description that ROM is. Write-Only Memory is where *some* are self-concerned with their own output and not anyone else's and they write stuff which is seldom read or valued. What's noticed is that they are saying *something* not the content, goes back to Marshall McLuhan's The Medium Is The Message.

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When it comes to recording the minutae of one's life to a socmedia platform, it takes a special kind of dimwit to bundle family, work, and extremes of embarrassing hedonism, on a single true name social network login. That's just making it too easy for them. Let the lazy buggers find their own filth n smut.

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