Social media has taken over the way we communicate with each other. When I was a child (and yes, this will make me seem old) we didn’t have cell phones to text every waking idea. Instead, we wrote letters – in long hand!! For those of you studying history it was called “cursive”. We had pen pals from around the world and when we wished to communicate with them we drafted well thought out letters, put a stamp on an envelope and sent it out across the void. It may have taken weeks, even months, to reach its destination but we also didn’t have to worry about how many other people would read, and potentially misinterpret, the message we conveyed.
(image credit: forum.keypublishing.com)
The ease of communication now is also dominating the amount of information that we share with others on the social media sites but there are many out there who don’t take the time to think of what they are posting before it’s out there….for ALL to see. We have such a need to interact with people but we don’t take the time to second guess the content of what we are sharing and who we are conceivably sharing it with.
Facebook and Twitter make publicizing our lives far too easy. With one click of a button, your latest thought, action or location can be sent into cyberspace and be laid at the feet of the millions of people with access to the “information highway”. What we don’t think about ahead of time is the fact that once that data has been shared it cannot be un-shared. You may think that by pressing delete on your keyboard that the material is no longer available, but think again. It has been data stamped and encrypted and is still recoverable.
There are many minds out there that are far more creative and light years beyond us in terms of technology that have unlimited access to those morsels of personal details that you felt the need to share. And they, in turn, may feel the need to resurrect that fragment of your life and make you vulnerable in a way you never thought possible. Innocent pictures of your “girls night out” may find themselves on websites with completely ulterior motives. Your potential new employer may, and most likely will, seek you out on Facebook to see if the information you have used to beef up your resume has any semblance of truth. They will also judge your character on the photos you have chosen to share with the world.
Choose your words and your images wisely. I am trying not to be hypocritical in this post as I am a humble slave to social media. This blog would not exist were it not for the ease of sharing thoughts and ideas across the vast blogosphere and sharing my posts through Facebook and Twitter. But I do give pause to the content of my words and status updates before I hit the publish button. Although I am free to write about any topic I choose, I also want my words to portray my character in a way that I feel truly represents the person I am and will leave no room for any of those words to come back and haunt me.
Don’t always trust the privacy settings to give you that sense of security. The only real security you can have is filtering the information you post in the first place. The postman only used to ring twice. Words that have been sent into cyberspace will ring forever.