Do people share too much on social media?

The monumental world of social media some what interrupts 21st century living. It is scary to think how reliant we are upon the Internet and our mobile phones. Yes, social media is a quick, easy and powerful way to connect with people. But have these new technology platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, captivated our souls and taken over our lives? Particularly with the youth of today, social networking intertwines itself into everyday activities and hinders face-to-face communication.

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That may have been a little melodramatic, not everybody revels in social networking’s exploding popularity. But for those who do, do you truly know who you’re sharing news, information, pictures and personal experiences with? Are you aware of the potential dangers of sharing personal information? Of course, not everyone who accesses your information is going to be a threat, but it is still important to be extremely careful when broadcasting information. A fundamental topic that should be taught in school, alongside Math and English, is Internet safety. Most networks ask for every ounce of information about your life; where you live, where you went to school, your age, your boyfriend’s best friend’s sister’s social security number…This information should not be available to just anybody. Surely everyone should make sure their Facebook is set to ‘share with friends only’, and that they actually know all of these ‘friends.’ Some networks even ask for your location when submitting your post, surely that isn’t always information you want the whole internet world to know.

Social media is a phenomenon that cannot be controlled and therefore we need to be properly educated. Take the recent attack on celebrity Kim Kardashian; one of the most protected and secure women in the world. You could argue that this robbery was directly concordant with her embellished and elaborate social networking profile. For example her instagram where she frequently flaunted the cash, including her $4.5 million wedding ring. Although this was the work of malicious individuals, Kim’s highly public lifestyle was arguably the spark that instigated the attack. Kim’s social media accounts have fallen silent since the assault in Paris, which confirms they played a part.

Not only can sharing too much on social media be damaging to your life, but also to future career prospects. A risky tweet or drunken picture from last night’s ‘sesh’ could crush your chances of getting a job. What we post should be considered permanent; nothing on the Internet ever truly disappears. It is known that a social media background check is frequently used in the interview process. Particularly those who want to work for the NHS, your social media profiles should reflect the NHS’s high health standards. Not only future employers, but also think before you press post, ‘Would I want my Nan seeing this?’ Don’t post something that you don’t want everyone seeing. You may think you’re just sharing with your friends or followers but almost all information you post on the Internet is accessible to anyone.

I’m not telling you to go delete all of your social media profiles or to never post anything ever again, but rather to really think about what you are actually putting out there before it’s too late. For instance do we really need to know you’re tweeting from the toilet? Whilst you may think it’s funny at the time… save yourself the embarrassment. We all want to share things that make us happy or laugh, to boost our social standing and show off our achievements. But what we don’t often realise is that people can piece this information together and know a lot more about us than we’d like. Also, something you find funny could be offensive to others, unleashing a crazed social media army on your back. Note the term, ‘keyboard warrior’ – behind their laptop or phone screens people tend to exude confidence and say whatever they’re truly thinking. They don’t hold back. This can lead to a series of nasty comments and provides a platform for Internet bullying. Users believe that because it’s an online comment it isn’t ‘real’ and it doesn’t really hurt, however this is not the case. It’s vital to make use of the privacy settings available in order to stay as safe as possible online. A key example of this is the story of Audrie and Daisy, a documentary available on Netflix. Audrie Pott was a 15-year-old student at Saratoga High School in Saratoga, California who died by suicide on September 12, 2012. She had been sexually assaulted at a party eight days earlier and pictures of the assault were posted online with accompanying bullying.[1] In the age of social media, their nightmares were only beginning. Social media exposed her assault and gave bullies a platform to terrorise Audrie. Although this is an extreme case, it highlights the dangers of the internet.

 

The main message I’m trying to put forward simply is: social media sites do provide features to protect your privacy and fend off unwanted followers, and therefore we should make use of these features.

[1] “Three 15-year-old boys are charged in ANOTHER tragic web ‘sexual assault’ suicide: Teens arrested after girl, 15 killed herself when they ‘posted photos of her ordeal online'”. Daily Mail. London. 12 April 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2013.

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