I feel bad for Kate Middleton.
In secluded surroundings that made it practically impossible for outsiders to witness, Kate decided to express herself in the presence of people of her choosing. An uninvited intruder chose to make unusual and extreme efforts take photos of her and publish them all over for the world to see.
It strikes me as strangely familiar to the stance I take with social media research.
Yes, people express their opinions in social media. But they often choose to do it in secluded surroundings such as their personal facebook page or a lightly trafficked forum where few outsiders wander. They choose to share their opinions with select people and they understand how those people will react to their opinions. They choose to say their opinions in secluded places, not all over the world for everyone to judge and make fun of and ridicule.
Should social media researchers plaster everywhere the names and urls and identifying information of the opinions they collect from social media?
Do I want my opinions splashed on the front page of CNN with my name and address as the headline just because I shared an opinion on Twitter? I don’t think so.