I’ve struggled with finding the right balance of descriptiveness and privacy in my Flickr photos account. Up to now, I’ve almost completely avoided displaying people’s names, because I think it’s a little creepy to be able to go to someone’s photos, and search for someone else to see what they’ve been doing. On the other hand, I ended up with vague, somewhat tortured names like “Wedding in Palos Verdes” or “Entertaining visitors to the Bay Area.”

So I’m going to start using people’s first names in some circumstances. For example, “Entertaining visitors to the Bay Area” is now “Matt and Laurel’s visit”. It makes more sense to me and to those who know them, and those who don’t know them don’t care anyway. I’m still not using last names, nor am I tagging photos with people’s names.

I’m curious to see how people’s privacy expectations online will evolve. They’re generally willing to put up a lot of information without much thought as to who can see it. For example, at CSCW I saw a talk by Cliff Lampe, a Michigan State professor, who said he announced to his class that he had read all of their Facebook profiles, and that you could see each student mentally going through what they had put in their profiles and their resulting grimaces.

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