The Difficulties of Cyberhobnobbing

I was looking into Flickr as a possible place for hiding my photos… I created a new account and have been exploring the settings. I don’t know why they go on about Facebook’s privacy settings being doubtful and complicated… Flickr doesn’t seem to be any better! I noticed that anyone you invite to view your photos is able to see your list of contacts, together with full names, and as far as I’m concerned, that reduces the number of people you can sensibly invite to the same place.

I was reading a discussion where people said “I want to be able to hide my contacts from other contacts,” and other people got all shirty and said “but that would spoil all our fun! Hiding your contacts is not the point of a social site.”

People would be taken aback if you said to them (in real life), “let me see a list of all your friends, their full names, interests and where they live… I might decide not to be friends with you if I don’t like what I see!” So I don’t know why the social sites should expect it.

Bearing in mind that I haven’t tried every social site that’s out there (thus have limited experience of them), I think that if people had a more intuitive and flexible method of keeping different areas of their lives hidden from different groups of people (just as they do in real life) the social sites would be more successful rather than less.

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4 responses

  1. There are privacy settings on these sites which allow you to make only certain pages visible to anyone. I only accept ‘friends’ on Facebook from people I actually know and don’t mind if they see photos or lists of friends I have. Having said that I do restrict certain parts of my ‘page’ so that only close friends can view them (and not acquaintances or work colleagues). Likewise on Flickr you can make your page of photos private. I have a page of old family photos that other members of the family can see by invitation only.

    1. Thanks Drifting — I quite like having a Flickr page, though I haven’t done much with it yet! As far as I could make out, there is nothing to hide your list of contacts from the other contacts. With family, that shouldn’t matter (though some people have said when family and friends have seriously fallen out with each other, it can be very awkward!) As an anonymous blogger, I can’t invite bloggers to the same Flickr site as my other contacts, even if they are not viewing the same photos, as that would make me a lot less anonymous. 🙂 I think the only option is to create a second Flickr account.

  2. Be sure to read over flickr’s TOS on photos so you know just what rights you are giving over.

    1. You’re right, we have to be careful about those TOS. It’s kind of fun having a Flickr page, though. 😀

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