Public Is The New Private Youth Radio's Lauren Silverman claims people under 25 are choosing to communicate publicly on their Facebook and Myspace walls, rather than send private messages. From the mundane to the scandalous, every detail of life becomes public.
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Public Is The New Private

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Public Is The New Private

Public Is The New Private

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Forget Internet friendship - there are more pressing Facebook issues 20-somethings are now dealing with. Youth Radio's Lauren Silverman fills us in on What's the New What? It's our weekly commentary series.

Ms. LAUREN SILVERMAN (Youth Radio Commentator): What's the New What? I say public is the new private. Sometimes I long for the good old days, when people knew me rather than my Facebook profile. YouTube, Flickr and blogging Web sites have forever changed what people consider private. But there's one feature on Facebook, the social networking site I use most, that reveals how people under and over 25 view privacy differently.

Ms. NAOMI DREXLER (Facebook Member): Before, maybe there wasn't as easy a way to make these sort of like comments, and these like expressions of affection public.

Ms. SILVERMAN: That's my friend Naomi Drexler (ph). She's 20 years old, like me, and she's talking about Facebook wallposts. Wallposts are a very public way to send a message on Facebook, to write directly on a friend's profile page. If a Facebook message is the equivalent to an e-mail, then I'd say a Facebook wallpost is the equivalent to a permanent billboard. Naomi says she errs on the side of caution.

Ms. DREXLER: I'm pretty conscious of just making sure that what I put on their wall is just pretty platonic and safe.

Ms. SILVERMAN: But check out Naomi reading what she wrote in her most recent wallpost to me. Ms. SILVERMAN: I'm going to have to fade this out here. Facebook-public is one thing, but public radio-public is a whole other level. The point is, for people under 25, publicly sharing the most personal and the most mundane details is commonplace. In fact, communicating with friends through private channels has become unheard of, even passe. So the last time I got a private Facebook message, I expected it to be super scandalous. Instead, it was my friend Brett Levy(ph) saying...

Mr. BRETT LEVY (Facebook Member): OK, como estas Senorita Poppins? Those pics that you added are funny. That was definitely a very fun night.

Ms. SILVERMAN: OK, so why did you leave this in a message versus a wallpost?

Mr. LEVY: Well, I think I'm - hmm, hat's a good question. It used to be enough to have a Facebook profile, but now, you have to stand out. I once alluded to the crazy happenings of my life, hinted about a new crush. Now, I italicize, bold and capitalize my so-called secrets. There's no denying that transparency is trendy, but I'm still quietly debating on WordPress, Facebook and Blogspot, whether public is, in fact, better than private.

BRAND: Youth Radio's Lauren Silverman. Is letting it all hang out on your Facebook wall a good thing? BRAND: Or post a message on Youth Radio's Facebook wall, whatever you're more comfortable with.

CHADWICK: Our email is what@npr.org.

Day to Day is a production of NPR News with contributions from slate.com. I'm Alex Chadwick.

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