Conflict with Privacy is Unnecessary

by Santosh

There’s plenty of headroom for social networks to grow without conflicting with the end-users need to privacy. If you think about first principles that underly how we interact in the real world, social networks needn’t have attempted to kill privacy, or bring privacy management online. They really should’ve obviated the need to explicitly manage privacy.

Once a conversation is set up, it determines who gets to listen in. Topics ought to enhance second-order visibility.

Networks that’ve set their default conversation to broadcast to all friends, or followers, or the world, appear to start that way… As individual networks grow, noise goes up. Later, lists are added in an attempt to dial up the signal. This includes facebooks’ lists (friend, close friends, public, friends except acquaintances) and G+’s circles.

Of the three, twitter encourages the better model. For conversations that are public by default, users can choose to directly address others. For a private conversation, users must switch modes to DM. In contrast, the way lists have been implemented on other networks implies that by attaching a conversation to a list, or by limiting the visibility of the post, it enhances participation. This is not true in practice.

If you imply that a user must pause and think when she shares – that right there is the battle lost.

It’s easy to understand why a new network, such as instagram, or medium would skip attempting to satisfy privacy needs altogether.