Is our privacy ‘to dye for’?

Sitting in our lecture today learning about the ‘Communication Privacy Management Theory’ got me thinking how much we should conceal or reveal in order to get our personal profile and sense of ‘face’ just right.

Thinking about the development of social media and the openness of new generations, it seems that now more than ever people don’t consider the information that they share with others, no matter how sensitive it may be. Listening today gave me a real insight into how important it is to monitor not only what we put out to others, but also to consider what information we withhold – I certainly don’t want everyone knowing everything about me!

This ‘private-public dialectic tension’ can be difficult – how much information do we disclose to a journalist? Or, if asked that vital question in a job interview, ‘what’s your biggest weakness?’ how do we approach this? And what’s the best way to be, open or reserved?

‘Private information’ and the ‘rules’ surrounding it are often shaped by culture, gender and wider contextual factors. How, when, where and with whom we share this is dependent on the persona we want to portray – I’m a really open person, but can appreciate that it’s easy to be private about things that are difficult to talk about, which can be a bad thing. However, in the world of PR it seems a subtle sense consideration for privacy is essential – keeping reserved for an interview with a journalist is key.

This is where our ‘boundaries’ can be tested. They can become ‘turbulent’ when pressed by someone, and thus the rules for privacy or disclosure become unclear.

It seems that everyone should perhaps pay a little more attention to their own privacy rules – the amount of posts I see across my social media channels that I regard as unnecessary or a little too open suggest we all need to think more carefully about what we share and hide – potential employers can easily access your social media profiles – something to bear in mind!

Today’s lecture highlighted the importance of reservation for me, and made me realise just how easy it is to damage the ‘face’ we put across to people.


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