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There used to be a time when the Internet was such an easy place to differentiate between professional and amateur. Furthermore, it was easy to differentiate one’s own online presence between the front that you presented to others professionally (like when you’re designing websites or coding software) and the front that you present to your friends. There is something reassuring in knowing that the secretary you meet at the front desk of the law offices of Binder & Binder is not quite the same person you meet at the bar at 10pm, for example. At least at one point in the internet’s rich history there was a time where a 15-year old could start up a web design business and no one would be able to guess.
As someone who benefited from that level of trust (so long as I could deliver the product a customer wanted, it didn’t really matter *who* I was), it’s lamentable to think that now there’s really no way to trust someone because there’s always something you’ll find out about them that makes you really wonder about their credibility.
What you see on the left is the twitter feed for a Boston web design firm called MindFire. They’ve done work for NBC, Connecticut Light & Power and Brighams And Women’s Hospital. Once I read that, I have really no idea what to think of them anymore. Is it just one person twittering what they want to eat for dinner? Or is this tweet a one-way window into their private life? Or am I just being paranoid, and being open these days means being transparent about all facets of one’s life? Recent flurry over Zuckerberg’s comments about how privacy is no longer a web-user’s concern highlights exactly this social phenomenon. And the example of MindFire is just one of many I’ve seen in the past few months.
If I don’t have privacy on the Internet, then where else can I be robbed of it?