(Or, conversely, how private is private?)

Recently, I ‘ve been encountering qualms, fears and downright panic on the web, especially in the blogosphere, about the intrusion of privacy by social networking sites. Facebook is one that has drawn much fire of late, due to, I believe, that site’s astronomical growth in popularity (vs. the more “passe” MySpace or downright dowdy Friendster). But another cause for concern is that while Facebook’s appeal is in its clean design and friendly format, the site is not quite so “clean” in letting you know its way of operating.

Here are some of the critiques I’ve found on the net:

YouTube Broadcast that discusses not only their creepy privacy policies, but also who is behind the funding of Facebook, and shows links all the way back to the Arpanet and the IAO! Watching this video reminded me of some stuff I’ve been reading in No Logo, but that’s another post.

This post from the blog Insightology goes into great detail about what scares that bloggist about Facebook — and also about Rapleaf, a kind of disturbing new website which gathers information about the various social networks with which any email address is associated. My tip after checking it out? Don’t input your email address in their search box, because if that will put your email in their radar if it isn’t already.

 Here’s a blog entry from Apohenia giving good advice on how to manage your web identity, including some astute advice on managing your Facebook page as well. (For this link I thank Joy Weese Moll, who passed it on to me in an impassioned gmail chat about blogging. Thanks Joy!)

 And finally, here is some feel-better-about-the-net news:  An organization named One Web Day has organized what they call an “Earth Day for the Web” — which will be September 22nd– on which day they are encouraging folks to celebrate and reflect on the positives that the Internet has brought into our lives. Check out their video if you’re curious to learn more! I, for one, can definitely say that, while I’m definitely nervous about the access that sites like Facebook give to marketers, the government and the general public into my life, I’ve also gained much, much MUCH from the internet… More details on that to follow in a future post! :)