Monday, June 2, 2008

Blogging and Privacy

I have taken a rather keen interest in Internet Privacy over the past few months. I'm not a lawyer, but I think it's an area where there are exciting (and scary) things happening. The latest one to come to my attention is a Pittsburgh story. A local young woman was tragically murdered a few days ago and the Post-Gazette quoted her blog in its article. PittGirl has the details of the P-G article and other sections of her blog they might have chosen, I believe she's covered this adequately and this post is not a study of those things. My question is wether they should have used the blog at all. I think PERHAPS the fact that she did post to her blog a couple weeks before she died is noteworthy, but the contents of her blog AND its location (Myspace) are not necessary, not even close.

I think this goes back to the controversy about Bob Costas and the Deadspin Guy, the bottom line of both stories is that traditional media does NOT understand Web 2.0 (a generic term for blogs, wikis and other such things). This is particularly true of the social functions of Web 2.0. This is why one can't say enough about being cautious about what you post, where you post it, and who can tell that YOU posted it. It's a reason I post annonymously. If I get run over by an over-zealous PAT bus driver on my walk home today I don't want anyone to say, "On the day he died he said Gina Carano was hot." If the P-G decides to run an article on me I hope they call my friends and familly and hear what a great guy I am (I hope they think I'm a great guy).

So if the bottom line is that traditional media doesn't understand Web 2.0, I have a suggestion for the Post-Gazette... Wherever you can, avoid quoting a blog, ESPECIALLY if someone has passed. If it's a necessary fact or opinion for a news story, then you have to, but most people don't want to be known by their blogs.

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