I signed up for Blip.fm yesterday - Blip.fm is an online social music site where everybody is a DJ creating communitized song lists. Pretty interesting to me because I'm always interested in hearing new stuff.
During setup, I happily turned on a feed to twitter, which in turn is fed into Facebook. To make a long story short I unintentionally spammed both my FB friends and my twitter followers with insipid song listings late last night. My sincere apologies to everybody that got this stream shoved in their queues.
I suppose there have already been cases of social infinite loops (or something like them).
But that's not what alarms me. That's reserved for the ability to reverse the feed from FB to twitter. Anybody who is a parent needs to understand what this means. In FB, you have some control over who gets to see you or your child's personal information. I can't remember what the default behavior is, but I think its to keep private information private.
Twitter on the other hand really only works if everything is public so anyone can see it. That's how you build the number of followers you have. I suppose you can do that privately too, but the numbers don't seem to support strong privacy for twitter users.
What this means is that somewhat soon there could lots of kids on FB sending what would normally be private information in FB to twitter where they are out in the clear for anybody to see. As far as I know, the only place you'll be able to check this status is by going into your child's FB account and winnowing the information about the FB/twitter application. If you are a geek, that's not so bad - its a pain in the rear - but if you are not a geek, you might have difficulty doing this. Prepare to become much more familiar with FB in order to be a responsible parent.
Kids FBing about where and when they will be someplace and who they will be with could be very interesting to creeps. If you've ever had a child stalked online you know how much THAT sucks. Of course creeps don't always discriminate between kids and adults - so you need to be aware of your own information leaks too. All of a sudden it could get a lot scarier than what its been and so it makes sense to watch what's going on here very closely. Its not like we don't already have enough to do.
New social networking sites that tie into FB and twitter are also leakage points - as I discovered last night. There is no question I should have known better because I'm a technology person- but I screwed up. It proved to me how easy it is to have information show up where you didn't really want it.
Its a Pandora's box thing. There's no stopping it and its going to create challenges and work for everybody, even those that don't use social networking technologies. If you are alive, you will need to understand how social networking technology works, just like you will need to know how crosswalks and airport security works. I never would have thought THAT until recently.
I've never liked the idea of having multiple twitter and FB accounts, but I might need to consider it in order to create further separation between work and personal life. There are lots of problems with doing that, not the least which is curtailing the amount of personal information that gets put into work-based social network accounts. That would significantly reduce the effectiveness of the media and I'm not sure how possible it is to do it anyway - being a social animal.