Share or don’t share?

Being a part of social media nowadays implies that we have to use some personal information at times. It can be compulsory – when we register an account and give our e-mail adressess or it can be optional – hometown, postcode, date of birth etc. Are we really in control of the personal data we share or the platforms already know everything about us?

Personally, my preferred social media platform is Facebook. I like it because it is easy to use and it unites people from all over the globe. That being said, I believe people are keen on sharing many personal data with their  friends without thinking it through. On Facebook I share what can be appointed as basic information such as my name, hometown and birthday. I don’t consider this to be private information, because it helps other people to connect and find you. Other information such as adress, e-mail, political views, family members can be at times “dangerous”, because you don’t know who you are sharing it with. Though we put on the lock and other people don’t see it, it can be argued that Facebook itself already know enough. What I share on my timeline is visible only for people who are on my friends list. Sometimes when I am doing a project, written an article or involved in some public activity, I “unlock” my posts so that everyone can see and share it.

Sharing personal data on the Internet (not only social media) is dangerous nowadays. Hacking, misrepresentation, identity theft are common these days. It is crucial for us to keep our private information to ourselves. Share songs, not addresses.

Binded by Binary

Growing up being visible on social networks such as MSN live messenger was a good thing as that meant I can communicate and nudge friends who i’d seen probably about 20 minutes ago at school that day. So putting my personal details online wasn’t such a bad thing as I saw it as communicating and interaction between me and my friends, but mostly fitting into what was becoming the normal.

But as I’ve grown older and more wiser to the dangers there isn’t much you can do about removing or changing your online visibility. One of my biggest fear is online shopping.

I personally love shopping and find it a really handy way to shop without moving, but putting the advantages aside most companies encourage you to store your card and bank details with their ‘secure’ website to make it easier and quicker to shop. This is my biggest fear where is this information stored and who can have access to my personal information?

I can always change or remove my personal bank details from the websites such as Paypal or amazon, but it will still be there somewhere and i will probably end up using that website again.  Alongside the fact that someone can hack and steal all the money I own from my account, all my details such as address, name and phone number is easily accessible and since I’m already so visible on social network sites such as Facebook it wouldn’t be hard to find me from the details i have submitted on there.

So being visibly online seems great but now that we are more educated as a community we are very limited to the overall control of our own information.

Trying to protect invisibility

Everyone wants to be popular. Everyone wants to share its life through a social network. Visibility is the key of our lives. 20% of the Internet users use Instagram as a social network. 1.49 billion Users are monthly active on Facebook. Almost one sixth of the world uses social networks, so it is important considering our privacy and visibility to protect ourselves.

I can only be found in few places such as Facebook, but I am not sharing photos, my posts (which are very few). The only things that I share are my cover photos and some details regarding my little background. That’s all. I do not have an Instagram profile, because I do not consider it to be useful and somehow relevant to my life and to the people I matter to. I do have Snapchat, I quite like it but to me it is not about sharing every single bit of everyone’s life and I added only few people.

Visibility online is a core question when people are to create an account in one social network because automatically is sharing something related to their private sphere. I tend to protect my privacy and fortunately there’s plenty of Lorenzo Martini in this world, hence it’s pretty hard to find me. Otherwise probably I would have protected my privacy and visibility even more.

Should we care more about online privacy?

 

I have publicly shared information on facebook, twitter and youtube. However, I try to be selective and make use of privacy settings. I don’t have many photos on facebook, and some albums can only be viewed by some friends. When I’m tagged in photos or posts, I have to accept or decline them first.

Searching about facebook’s privacy settings, I find that there are more privacy options than I knew of. At least I have ignored some, because I feel that it doesn’t concern me too much. Im not a fan of the ‘message seen’, but it’s not something I have turned off either.

I think its important to remember, that there are many ways in which we can enhance our online privacy, and that it’s not as complicated as it might appear. However, if your a privacy freak, you shouldn’t be on facebook. Ultamitely even the basic information on your profile, sais a lot about you. And that’s something we can’t do very much about, unless we avoid it completely. My friends in Germany have encripted all their messaging on facebook, and have encouraged me to do the same. I’ve tried it, but I haven’t stuck with it. In some way I  feel guilty, because I do care about privacy. Do you think that if we really care about privacy, we should be encripting our messaging?

Do we have control of online visabilty?

We can all agree that being on social media includes sharing information with others right? This has shown to be done in different ways with different types of social media. For instance with Instagram, mainly pictures are put up of captured moments that individuals like to share with their followers. Instagram allows us to caption our photos which is a way of giving out more information, from either saying where the photo was taken, who else is in the picture (tagging them) , using song lyrics or phrases that represent the picture, you as an individual and how you are feeling .

On the other hand we have Facebook and on most people profile you have a section where you can describe who you are, where you can mention the school you  go/went to , what country you live in, what you are studying, email address, phone number etc. Then you can also post statuses to share with your following friends on what exactly is on your mind. I have seen statuses where individuals have exploited their own family issues that is currently going on, or young mothers expressing the stress they are going through with their kids.

The question I ask is, do we have control on our online visibility? From my perspective I would say we do, as we get to choose who we allow to share our information with by making our  Instagram or Facebook account private or public. Even with Facebook, when it comes to the pictures or statuses we post, we have the option of choosing who we allow to see it whether they are our friends on Facebook or not.

My mum worries more than I do

Since the invention of social media, I feel there’s a whole new type of privacy and security that is needed for users to be mindful about online. My parents have always taught me to be internet smart and aware about what I share online and who can see it, for my own safety and also that I have a clean profile for when I look for future jobs. My mum says they use “internet hacker companies” to scan through all your social media accounts for your to be boss, she worries. There have been countless of cases of people sharing things online that they shouldn’t of and had to face serious consequences.

I use Facebook the most out of all social media accounts and contains most of my information which is shared only my friends. If a random person were to search for me on Facebook and found my profile, they wouldn’t be able to see any information about me unless they added me. My parents and high school have always taught us to not share any personal information online, even with your my friends online.

I actually used to create content on Youtube where I would sit in front of the camera talking about topics and doing challenges, small hobby of mine at the time. Having a presence on Youtube which is public and creating content like I did and what many famous Youtubers do as well, you are in a spotlight for millions of people to see depending how on successful you were. You still have to be careful about what you share. For example, I wouldn’t share the following; phone number, address, school/ university, credit card details etc.

In conclusion, everyone has set different boundaries of safety for each other, people may share less/ more about themselves than you and I would. I feel it’s very important issue to be aware about and should be taught in schools. Our generation grew up with this technology and the every evolving internet which means we look at this differently than many other generations do but no matter what safety comes first when online.

Visibility Online as a Blogger

I am very visible online. Not only do I have social media platforms – such as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter – but I also created my own entertainment and lifestyle blog. For my social media handles, I allow only a limited audience to see my personal profiles on some of my accounts, while other accounts I let the whole public view my profile. For example, for Facebook I only accept people I truly know to view my profile because my Facebook is my most personal social media platform. I post pictures on there with my family and friends and for my family and friends to see the pictures. It is a more personal account to have, so I only allow a limited audience to view it because I do not want people I do not know to have access to my personal information. On the other hand, my Instagram and Twitter are open to the public, so anyone can view them. I chose to do it this way because I use my Instagram and Twitter as digital marketing components for my blog. I tweet out blog links so my followers can easily access my latest article.  I also instagram travel, fashion, and food photos on my Instagram because that is what I blog about.

However, because I have a blog, a lot of information about me is not always under my control. I chose to put myself out there on the Internet, so I knew there would be pros and cons. I have always loved being creative and sharing my ideas, so my blog allows me to do just that. I write articles on things I’m passionate about – such as fashion, books, food, music, and travel. So most of my articles are not very personal, but more of opinions. However, by starting a blog, I have grown a following, so my visibility online has increased. Some of the pros for this increased visibility is that I found my current job through my blog. I used my blog as my online portfolio, and they liked the content and the social media following I had, so I was hired as a social media producer at the company. However, there are cons with an online presence also. People have created fake accounts under my name or commented fake stories on my posts. I do not have control over what people can comment or say about me or my blog. People know what city I am from and where I travel based on blog posts, but my personal information is still very limited for safety.  Sometimes I do not like how visible I am online because of my blog, but I love writing and creating online content. So, it is just one of the cons will having a blog – more people will get to know you online and your visibility will increase.