Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Think Before You Post

Personal space is that physical area around a person regarded as an extension of the self. The more comfortable we are with people, the smaller our personal space is. Although, admittedly there are instances when we are forced to diminish our personal space (case in point: LRT rush hours).

On the internet, personal space is diminished to a great degree - particularly if you're someone who surfs the internet on a daily basis. People who work hard at projecting a respectable image in person rarely protest to the uploading of incriminating pictures of themselves with their family or friends. With the advent of ICT life has become an open book and personal space a thing of the physical.

However, the concept of personal space is fast catching up with ICT practice precisely because of the use that personal information available online is being subject to. For example, there are employers who now make it a practice to search out their applicants on personal blogs and social networking sites to find out more about them. There was even an instance when an employer threatened to sanction an employee for a facebook status which was derogatory to the company. Can we argue that these are unfair acts of discrimination or invasions of our privacy? The counter-argument that we voluntarily make such information available online knowing the entire world can see and find it bites us in the behind.

On the flip-side, there are general posts by third persons which we find personally offensive. Recently, a Caucasian tweet-er made several comments why it was inconvenient being white. An African-American acquaintance read the tweets and felt that her personal space was being violated. Sure she ignored the first ten or so tweets but after the twentieth and up to the eightieth it started to feel like an unwelcome invasion. Is there recourse in our laws? None. It's damnum absque injuria. But the violation is real. And the laws are ineffectual.

For now, the answer in both instances lies in the old adage “strong fences make good neighbors.” This simply means that people should be careful who they allow into their personal space. It also means that people should guardedly screen what they make available online. Or people can just go cold turkey - if their social life can handle the stress.

Maricris L. Real (Entry # 3)


Kate Lomoljo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate Lomoljo said...

Personal space is one concept a legal aid client should know of.

Also, just because someone does a wacky pose for a photo does not mean that she wants the same posted on facebook and be tagged!!!

Maricris L. Real said...

Haha! Before teaching it to legal aid clients, start with legal aid applicants!

And Kate you're hitting close to the source of this blog post.;-)

Karen Eustaquio said...

some people though really put too much information online that you wonder whether they bother with personal space :p like that facebook program where users update where they are that that exact time and it says " (username) just checked in at blah blah." Its a stalker-caller :p i like the comic strip!