[[Wikipedia:Internet privacy|Privacy on the internet]] has received a lot of attention over the years, with for instance some, like free software activist [[Wikipedia:Richard Stallman|Richard Stallman]], [https://stallman.org/facebook.html#privacy advising people not to use Facebook on grounds of privacy] (among other reasons). One thing to keep in mind is that there exists a spectrum for sharing information about oneself; i.e. there is no dichotomy of either complete privacy or complete release of information. Consider the gradual decrease in privacy in going from keeping one's data local (on one's own hard drive), to keeping data on a cloud service but available only to oneself (so that the service provider, such as Google, can potentially view or use the data), to keeping data on a cloud service but with the ability to invite other authorized users to view the data, to making the data public, but not locatable by search engines, so that effectively only people with the link can view the data (this is, for instance, what [https://github.com/ GitHub] does with its [https://help.github.com/articles/about-gists#secret-gists secret gists]), to releasing the data publicly and making it locatable by search engines. Additionally, in each case, one has the option of using one's real name or a pseudonym (or, in some cases, staying anonymous). It is important to know, then, that some of the pros and cons of privacy will only apply to a certain part of this spectrum. See [https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-making-information-about-oneself-available-online-through-for-example-smart-phone-apps-and-social-media-posts the Quora question "What are the advantages and disadvantages of making information about oneself available online through for example smart phone apps and social media posts?"] for more on this topic.
Basically, your online persona should reveal those parts of you that help people get an idea of what you're thinking about and your opinions on specific issues, but should not be a way for them to track you down or get information about your real-life friends (except if they contact you personally).
==Join online communities==