Social Media Privacy and Communication: Perfect Data Security?

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In times of basic data protection regulations and privacy discussions on Facebook, the topic is more topical than ever: How should one deal with his data as an internet user? An overview.

Social Media Privacy and Communication: Perfect Data Security? Social Media Privacy and Communication: Perfect Data Security?

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Cultivate staging


Should Internet users strictly separate the private from the public, or should they, on the contrary, turn their innermost outward? Neither is ideal. The model of success means: Forget the inexperienced "authenticity" - cultivate the staging.

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In a post about "More quality of life thanks to smartphone, eMail, Chat and Co ", our reader Benjamin Wagener raised the question of why electronic communication should be less valuable than direct communication simply because there is no eye contact and no conscious perception of the other person. His counterargument:

To be myself?


Even in real life, according to Wagener, many people maintain a façade. Wagener even says:

"So what is the point of direct contact, the nuances of the voice, etc., if these benefits are not used in terms of content? I argue that many have first made the relative distance of the Internet open to others and confide in others, because they can communicate more relaxed behind the keyboard when they are not exposed to the other's gaze. "

The study "Facebook Profiles Reflect Actual Personality, Not Self-Idealization"The Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz seems to agree with Wagener: According to this study, most people in social networks want to be as much as possible themselves and express their own personality. In cooperation with American colleagues, Mainz psychologists examined a total of 236 German (studiVZ / meinVZ) and US (Facebook) user profiles.

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Personality vs. self image


Questionnaires raised the actual personality traits of profile owners as well as their idealized self-images (ie the idea of ​​how they would like to be). Subsequently, foreign judges saw the user profiles and gave their personality impression. The foreign judgments were then compared with the actual personality as well as the self-ideal of the profile owners.

It turns out that the spontaneous impressions of the foreign evaluators coincide with the actual characteristics of the profile owners and are not falsified by their self-idealization. The results contradict the view that online profiles are only used to create a deceptive virtual identity.

Idiots in the sense of the ancient Greeks?


This openness scares many people. Because, as the common opinion, in private life, one should give oneself, how one is. But too much openness has lost nothing in public and even in professional and professional environments. Here lies the original meaning of the word idiocy: In ancient Greece, an idiot was a man who does not separate the private from the public. And that is exactly what many people do when they present themselves on the internet.

So many Internet users are idiots? Or not?

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With openness to success


In October 2010, Uwe Knaus, Daimler's blog manager, received a memorable one application for a social media internship:

"I am addicted to social media ... yes, I hereby officially confess myself. Nothing can sweeten my day any more than the golden ringing of a new message on Facebook and a hoped-for retweet ... Yeah, that's right ... I keep getting ads about harassment because I follow people on the street. And worst of all: ... My friend speaks to me now only with @ Schatzi ... Only the structured handling of social media can help me now. I count on your support. "

The limits of good taste?


The sender was Regensburg graduate Natascha Müller, who caused heated discussions among staff and social media experts. Because Knaus had the application, initially anonymous, published in his private blog - not without his own impression:

"At first, I thought: That will not work! Someone was joking, or someone else has made a fake application. Let's assume the cover letter is not a fake. Then it is amusing, open, honest, funny, stand out and the applicant will be remembered. But it does not fit with Daimler - or does it? If The Lady had applied to an agency, she probably could have started tomorrow. Thoughts about thoughts. One thing she has at least achieved: I spend more than an average of my time working on her application. "

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Professional staging as a success strategy of our time


And that was precisely the success of Müller's application: With her cheeky, unconventional way, she not only brought the blog manager of a global automotive company to think, but also reached via Twitter and large, usually approving attention. Openness and authenticity as a success strategy of our time?

The matter is much more complicated and complex. Because not every form of openness is well received.

The perfect-authentic self-expression


The management consultant Best of HR –®-Author Olaf Hinz warns even to exaggerate it with the authenticity:

"What it takes is a harmonious appearance or a harmonious presentation. And straight staging also has the role models / expectations of employees, colleagues or the audience in view. For those who come highly personally, authentically and 'honestly' are quickly perceived by their professional environment as being 'too close' and 'too private'. I think it takes a professional demeanor, which by the 'keep balance' between authenticity and role exercise neither adapted nor comes to private: just a harmonious staging.

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Political scientist Eva Horn works perfectly, mastering this staging on her favorite social media channel, Twitter: With her green hair, rather random snapshot and cheeky slogan, "I often stay up late, drink a lot, and feel ashamed of all of us "If one takes her profile rather as a private and thus particularly authentic channel was.

First think, then tweet


Nevertheless Horn also thinks exactly what she tweets and what does not, because she knows very well who reads everything - and to which misunderstandings the interlocking of private and public can lead:

"With self-expression in social networks, it's just like everywhere else: some do it more than others, it's just part of it. However, I would never tweet any crap to get more followers. That would be dishonest. What you divide must fit in one. I keep private things like my love life for myself. That I'm a well-defined misanthrope and sometimes drink a little more, people may know quietly. Spontaneous expressions of emotion, even if that sometimes causes irritation: Once I tweeted, accidentally started howling '- many people thought it would be very bad, because I make it public. These are only short snapshots. There are just a lot of people who do not understand the irony and cynicism that tops Twitter topics in 140 characters. That must be one. Through Twitter, I've also gotten many professional contacts and job offers and twittere officially for the Greens - they have already noticed that I can formulate well. In the official account of a party or a company private statements, however, have lost nothing, you have to strictly separate, otherwise it seems unprofessional! "

Strategy or idiocy?


So a well-thought-out strategy that has nothing to do with "idiotic" behavior.

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One should not take everything so seriously in social networks, because things here are often sharpened. That's part of the game. But even if you know that, it's not always easy to see through the game. And there is always the danger that one gets a wrong picture from others.

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