Generally speaking, the love letter has had its day. Sending a holiday postcard to Granny is a thing of the past. And as for the mobile phone? Let’s just saying that in 2016, calling is one of its minor functions.
Just 5 years ago, the world of ‘Social Media’ superseded e-mail as the most popular activity online and it has continued to bring friends, family and the whole communities to our fingertips ever since.
On the face of it, social media has reconnected millions of people and brought with it a breadth of opportunities, from civic journalism and an increased freedom of speech to the added sense of charity, compassion and community that comes with John Lewis’ annual (and very media-fluid) campaigns.
But when we consider the dark side of social media, should we be concerned that in such a brief lifespan, threats, trolls and ‘cyber’ bullying have already become commonplace in our society?
And is it finally time to realise that for some: social media is doing more harm than good?
While I’ll be exploring the emotion behind social media another time, it’s important to understand that each and every one of us like to feel success. And as such, we like to share important life updates with the people we care about. But for some, these updates don’t come often enough and they’re forced to share more trivial details to keep the conversation going.
We are literally in an age of oversharing.
Just this week, ‘reality’ TV star Kim Kardashian was held at gun-point and robbed of nearly £8.5m worth of jewellery. While the actions are despicable – especially towards the mother of two young children – many publications and members of the public (myself included) found themselves criticising the star’s decision to upload almost all aspects of her life and wealth onto social media platforms. It is completely plausible that those who robbed Ms. Kardashian were just paying close attention to her updates, scary huh?
And so, while many of us are not as wealthy or pro-active on social media as Kim Kardashian (who will probably never feature on this blog again), we are all at risk of bullying, theft and more. So here’s some tips of what not to share online:
- Your passport or driving licence, not only can sharing this make you susceptible to identity theft, displaying your address can leave you open to regular theft too (can you call it that?)
- Credit card details – pretty self explanatory, no?
- Your salary – believe it or not, salaries and hourly wages can still be viewed as something that’s private and if you’re impressed with your bonus, maybe you should just tell your friends about it.
- Boarding passes or checking in to holidays – ah, the 50+ favourite. If you’ve left your house empty for a significant amount of time, please don’t alert thieves to the fact.
- Sensitive information about yourself or anyone else – once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. There are some nasty people out there that can take advantage of your naivety.
- Extreme views – if you’re unfortunate enough to have them, for god sake just don’t share them. You will offend someone, or get fired.
(Disclaimer: I am not suggesting that social media is a place where everyone is out to rob/con/steal £8.5m of your fortune, please breathe normally again).
For the best part of the 21st century, social media has been expanding our horizons and reconnecting us with every click. However as with all aspects of our world, it’s beneficial to know the risks out there and if this blog post has raised your awareness in any way then it’s been worth the furious typing.
In next weeks post, I’ll be exploring the theme of quitting – or at least restricting – social media access, can it make you feel happier or just incomplete? There’s only one way to find out…