We Web users are an interesting bunch. Inclined to support a bloggers' code of conduct while becoming more ruthless and selfish online -- it's easy to understand why it's hard to figure out exactly what we want.
Case in point, a recent survey by the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), an independent British organization which deals with complaints from members of the public about the editorial content of newspapers and magazines, indicated that almost 80 percent of social networking site users would be more careful about the details they put online if they knew the media might use them.Web users also want guidelines. A clear division between what is personal and what is public domain is always tricky when photos and content are put online at the user's discretion. But should the media need to seek permission to publish a user's content? According to the poll, 49 percent of respondents say that it's wrong for them not to.
This dialogue stems from the onslaught of complaints filed through the PCC from users about personal online content being "misused" by the media as indicated by the 42 percent of 16 to 24-year-old who said they knew someone who had been "embarrassed by material which was posted without consent". The PCC says that personal information has been entering the public domain on an unprecedented scale and as a result has had serious ramifications for the regulation of media outlets.
But users would like to see more regulations, especially the 89% of internet users who said there should be "clear guidelines about what types of information could be used by the media". Although users acknowledge that they may need to consider whether personal details such as photos might be used by someone else without their consent, before posting them online, the need for guidelines is widely supported.
Obviously, this is just another indication that online social media is affecting the traditional media protocols by which we have been governed. While online media has allowed users more freedom of expression, the consequences have exposed an industry that has yet to figure out how to adapt existing policies. What do you think? Is there a need for the media to seek consent for a user's online content?