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Just between you and me (and the entire Internet)

Just between you and me (and the entire Internet) published on 5 Comments on Just between you and me (and the entire Internet)

Are you finding the same thing I am? Where you’re having a casual conversation with a friend, and you’re in the middle of saying something… well, not exactly¬†secret, but not the sort of thing you want shared with the world… and you stop dead, suddenly worried that it might end up in their Twitter stream?

When I’m talking to someone with a blog, a Twitter feed or even a Facebook account (which, these days, means nearly everyone), I’m often just a little guarded. I have my own guidelines and boundaries when I’m dealing with other people’s information – basically, if there’s any ambiguity, I ask permission before I share – but I know other people draw the line differently.

Sometimes they’ll reveal a confidence but change a few details to protect identities. Or maybe they’d never do that, but they’ll readily tag an embarrassing party photo of you on Facebook.

While some people lay down hard and fast rules about the new online etiquette, the reality is things are still a lot more fluid than many of us realize. You’ve just had lunch with a potential client; do you tweet that? You shot a hilarious video at the company picnic; do you upload it? And do we all just assume we’re all on the record, 24-7, until and unless we agree otherwise?

Several years into the social media revolution, we’re still only making baby steps toward some kind of shared understanding of the terrain we’re walking on together. And in some ways, netiquette seems as nebulous a concept as ever.

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