I Know What You Did Yesterday, and The Day Before That
Since the introduction of the internet to the world, we have seen this mass network go from something used by the rich and those who looked to use it to benefit from it’s vast directory of information to your little brother or sister posting Minion memes, your grandmother posting twelve photos of her cat everyday, and your best friend who just had to share a photo of her avocado toast in an aesthetically pleasing setting.
Unfortunately, there is no set of rules for how one is to use the internet, so really anything goes. It is because of this that the internet has become a blessing and a curse. Today our lives are constantly bombarded with a never-ending stream of information thanks to social-networking. But where do we draw the line? When does it get to the point where we are oversharing? Is there a certain etiquette we should be abiding by when it comes to the internet?
Do We Really Need To Know That?
When Instagram launched back in 2010, I was one of the first to jump on board because it was a photo-sharing platform, and being interested in photography, this appealed to me. It began as a place where photographers could share their work with the world. While that may still be the case, today Instagram is a source for not only photography but memes as far as the eye can see, selfies of all kinds, photos of someone’s breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as advertisements that you never asked for.
The same can be said for Facebook. What started out as a way for people to connect has evolved to also be a cesspool of cringe compilation videos, photos of your friend’s baby that is “cute, yes, but we don’t need to see a photo of it every hour”, The Onion articles that people take seriously, and once again, way too many selfies.
We have evolved as a society to feel the need to share every moment of our lives with the world. From what we’re having for lunch, to how upset we are that Brad chose Denise over Jessica on the Bachelor (JESSICA LOVES YOU BRAD NOT DENISE, CMON!).
With the introduction of platforms such as Snapchat, Twitter, or “stories” on Facebook/Instagram, it has only fed our need to constantly share everything.
The Dangers of Oversharing
Unless you live under a rock, you may have heard Kim Kardashian was robbed by five men at her Paris apartment back in October 2016. Kardashian said the robbers tied her up and made off with over $10 million in jewelry. Police later said Kardashian’s social media postings had helped the thieves execute their plan. In the days before she was assaulted in Paris, Kardashian told her followers on Twitter and Instagram, 132 million in total, not only where she was going but what kinds of expensive jewelry she was wearing. (Source)
This is an extreme situation but this is just the kind of thing that can happen when people share everything over social media. Something as simple as parents sharing photos of their children with locations linked to those photos can be dangerous. You never know what kind of people can use that information.
Most recently, Snapchat has come out with a new feature called “Snap Map” that shows a user’s location in real-time. This has caused worry among many parents because who knows who could be tracking their child without them even knowing.
What Can We Do?
When it comes to your online identity, ask yourself: “Do people need to know this?”. Only you have the power to control what you put out there on the internet. And remember, once something is on the internet, there is no going back. If you decided that you are going to be a regular contributer to the world wide web, consider who you are sharing this information with. I strongly recommend to update your security and privacy settings for platforms like Facebook/Instagram so you are in control of who sees your content.
If you are looking to publicly put yourself out there as a brand or a content creator, think about who you are curating your content for and realize that whatever your put out is there for all to see.
At the end of the day, ask yourself, “Should I be putting this on the internet?”. Because I’m sure that you are not the first person to post their Starbucks latte on Instagram and definitely won’t be the last.