Josh points out that there are a group of new sites, like his 43 things and Flickr, that provide a platform from which members can be *more* public. The public part is the intent- publicity provides a foundation for networking and relationships. The more public you are- the greater your opportunities to network- and the sites encourage it.
It's all about publicity:
This pattern can be seen all over Web 2.0. Is there a privacy concern at Meetup, Audioscrobbler or 43 Things â€“ where people can actually meet you in the flesh, learn what you are listening to and even discover your personal goals? I donâ€™t think any of these sites are about privacy â€“ they are about publicity. They are about how when you disclose bits about your personality and interests, you can start to connect with others (in person or virtually) who share common experiences and interests. Part of what is happening on the web today, through folksonomies, blogs, social networks, link sharing and photo sharing are new ways for people to disclose their personalities in public and new ways to develop a digital identity that might augment who we are as people, offline.
Of course, the public sites arenâ€™t for everyone. People concerned about their privacy should steer clear. However, for the people who are unsure of what it means to share information in a truly public forum- should there be a publicity policy that relates the risks and advantages of their participation?
As I commented on his entry, I think there may be an opportunity to define these types of public sites and enable them to share a "publicity policy" that can be used to educate potential members about their participation. Maybe a â€œpublic commons policyâ€?? or something similar.
Any steps we can take towards helping people understand the implications of their public participation on the web is a step in the right direction.