First, there is the revelation that seemingly innocuous ‘Likes’ on Facebook can reveal much more personal detail than users imagine. According to a Cambridge University study, quoted in the press, important facets of one’s personality such as social standing; religious identity; even sexual orientation are – supposedly – discernible from what users say on the platform.
Then there is the sobering thought that if you get into a virtual feud with someone on Twitter they may very well track you down, for a very real confrontation. If in doubt look at what boxer Curtis Woodhouse did to confront the critic who mocked him on line.
Finally, there is recognition that young people are savvy consumers of new media but are not necessarily skilled in producing it. Former Black Eyed Peas vocalist Will.i.am has donated £500,000 of his own money to the Prince’s Trust to support the development of young people’s knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (the STEM subjects) where skills are lacking.
Unless we choose not to have a digital presence, these stories indicate we should carefully decide just how we manage our online life. They also nudge us to develop our relationship to new media / technology so that we keep up to date as they grows in influence.