As Facebook forges ahead into the undiscovered social media landscape, it has and will continue to push boundaries on many levels affecting and shifting culture as a result. Consider the cultural change to online pictures and privacy in the last couple of years. It was only a couple of years ago when people were concerned about people seeing images of their children on Facebook and they initially refused to post them. This privacy concern emerged again with the addition of the GPS tagging and location sharing. It was considered an invasion of privacy at first and now has been adopted into our collective and ubiquitous use.
Inevitably, the next stage of this development is what I call: “auto-tagging.” I predict that Facebook will soon release a software upgrade allowing face recognition to automatically tag your pictures based on the facial profiles of your friends. This technology already exists on a consumer level with Apple’s iPhoto and it will be inevitably utilized by Facebook in the near future.
In fact, you may have recognized this already beginning to develop. Still in its infancy, it is already utilized by Facebook. Just try tagging someone. When you place your cursor over the image, Facebook already can identify what is a face and what is not. The next inevitable evolutionary step is to utilize facial recognition software and “auto-tag,” saving the user time and effort.
People will, as they always do, cry foul at first; however, people will, as they always do, eventually accept it and welcome it into their ubiquitous social media experience.
This reality highlights the cultural shift that is occurring regarding our concepts and perceptions of privacy. In people’s desire to narrate their lives with social media and mobile technology, privacy is being eroded into the public sphere. As more and more of our lives are lived online with open transparency, it is creating sweeping cultural impact and societal change.
In the pre-digital age, people longed to be wealthy and famous, living public lives on a public stage, but this is changing and so will people’s desires. As the future unfolds and privacy erodes for the average citizen, people will desire what only the wealthy and select few will be able to experience – privacy.
A shift is occurring and privacy is experiencing a tipping point.