Note: While the ContentRobot blog tends to focus primarily on WordPress and blogging topics, Karen takes a moment to weigh in on Facebook’s recent stance on their privacy policy and broader implications of social media.

What would the Silent Generation think? According to Wikipedia, the Silent Generation is:

… a term coined in the November 5, 1951 cover story of Time to refer to the generation coming of age at the time, born during the Great Depression and World War II, including the bulk of those who fought during the Korean War.

The article stated that: The most startling fact about the younger generation is its silence. With some rare exceptions, youth is nowhere near the rostrum. By comparison with the Flaming Youth of their fathers & mothers, today’s younger generation is a still, small flame. It does not issue manifestos, make speeches or carry posters. It has been called the “Silent Generation.”

They would surely be shocked at what is “shared” in today’s online world:

  • Blogs, whose early efforts were characterized as digital diaries, makes inner thoughts public for all to see.
  • Word of mouth advertising asks us to share what we liked (or hated) about a given product. Similarly, blogs allow commenters to have their say.
  • Twitter allows us to find out what people are eating, drinking, watching, reading, thinking, etc.
  • Gowalla and Foursquare publishes statuses about where their users are at any given time.

Jump back a mere decade ago and (mostly static) website content was published by PR and legal teams. Communications were carefully orchestrated and individuals were not allowed to share their thoughts about company doings.

Today’s voices will not be denied. Blogs have become today’s manifestos, Twitter offers 140 character speeches, and YouTube and Flickr promotes anyone with cameras to present their ideas to the world.

I think that’s a good thing in a more flattened, democratic society. People do deserve a platform to be heard. And I love how people can connect and enhance their relationships with these “social media” tools.

Facebook is now brashly saying people don’t care about privacy anymore. Maybe they do just want to play Farmville and chat with their friends. Perhaps it’s just that they aren’t aware of the implications of the covert connections to advertisers or to others who don’t even know them.

I just can’t help thinking … Should we take some cues from the Silent Generation and remind ourselves that not everyone needs to know (nor do they care) about our every thought and move. Or is Facebook right and there’s no going back?