Best Sentence I Read Today on “Onlineness”

“Controlling your life online isn’t about a set of guidelines for everyone to follow. It’s about being aware of where you might be giving up control and making conscious decisions.”

This is taken from an excellent meditation by Vanessa Fox on living life online (she tagged the post “onlineness” which I had to look at a couple times to find the root word).

One topic she touched on briefly is how a person’s online activity can reach beyond the individual and touch the lives of others. What is acceptable practice in these circumstances? People disagree. Here is a clip:

When you share your life on the internet, do you edit that to avoid sharing the lives of those around you?

The [Gnomedex] audience talked a bit [ab]out how much they share about children. Some people said they don’t post pictures of their kids online because the kids are too young to decide whether or not they are OK with it. Other people said their kids are a big part of their life and of course they share that.

What about putting a genome sequence on the web? Immediate family members have some of the DNA sequence in common. For example, I share parts of my Y-chromosome with my father (I didn’t ask his permission to post parts of it online it either).

DNA sequence seems less obtrusive to me than either a photograph of a relative shooting tequila shots or a declaration that a family member has suffered from condition X. Anyone care to disagree?

Just how much information are you revealing about your relatives by posting a genome sequence on the web? How does this compare to other activities like photographs or medical information? These are empirical questions that need practical answers.


2 Responses to “Best Sentence I Read Today on “Onlineness””

  1. Ricardo on August 21st, 2007 5:42 pm

    I’ve never really thought about this. You have some very good questions in there.

    Specially the part about revealing your genome online and it’s implications on close family…

    Great post.

  2. Hsien Lei on August 28th, 2007 12:15 pm

    The thing about putting our DNA sequences online is that it’s not so easy to distinguish which parts we share with which family member. Photos are obviously much easier to identify and medical history much more easy to infer.

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