Imagine this: You are sitting in a restaurant and a complete stranger comes up to you says, “Oh I just wanted to wish your two kids (they name them by name) a Happy Birthday last week. Oh, and since I’m here, how is that new job that you just got hired to? Did you actually drink that margarita while hiding in the bathroom from your kids?”
Now, what if this stranger tells you that they learned everything from your Twitter and Instagram account? Everything that they ever needed to know was right there for the picking.
I don’t know about you, but that is a scary situation.
This is something that we have to take seriously and think about before we post that picture or share that tweet.
And believe me, I get it. We’re bloggers. We do write about our personal lives to connect with one another.
We want to appear relatable and personable to our readers out there–to other bloggers out there. We want others to see that they are not alone in their journey of life, no matter where they are.
But there is a line that we have to try not to cross.
We’ve all done it, but knowing what we know these days about technology we need to ask ourselves:
Deep down, we’re concerned about the privacy of our children, or what we write about our significant other. After all, anything and everything we do is traceable back to our real lives off the internet.
If this is what you could be worried about how about trying the following:
1. Not sharing your family’s real names.
Those of us who respect this decision will not post their real name online either. Instead use a nickname, or better yet, an online name that you know your kids would never respond to. Of course let’s keep it pleasant We don’t want a funny nickname to haunt this child when [or if] they ever come into social media.
2. We can filter our images with Instagram, we should filter what we say about our spouses.
Remember that advice we received when we were newlyweds: keep disputes to yourself and not share it with your family. When the argument is over, you forget about the problem but our families will still think about–sometimes unable to let it go. Now let’s take this one step further.
- What if it was a poor decision your spouse (or you) made that had a bad result, and you shared it. How does that show their judgment (or yours)? Extreme yes, but we don’t know who is really reading our blog or really following us on social media. One incident should not decide if that person is good decision maker, but what if your boss, or your spouse’s boss followed you (because, they heard you had a blog), and read that? Do you think that will affect your spouse’s chance at promotion? What about your chances?
3. Being careful about posting vacations or when you’re out-of-town.
If you are going on vacation and you want to share about your trip with others, that’s awesome. But try not to share when you’re going out-of-town. Don’t let everyone know that you’ll be out of your home for two weeks traveling X road, and staying at XYZ Inn. If anything, share your trip with us when you come back.
4. Turn off tracking.
You know how your phone wants to keep track of your location for everything that you do, umm…yeah…:turn it off. You would be surprised how much data is stored in a picture. Especially a picture that is taken with an app that has tracking enabled. That means if all your business is conducted within a 5 mile radius of your house (or mainly from your home) then it can and will be found out. You can still share your pictures, but do it wisely.
5. Stop before we post-what could sound cute now, could look real bad later.
Pressing send is sometimes a spontaneous action. We are either heated about something, or excited and we want to share that experience immediately. But we should stop and think about what we’re posting before we do. Will that comment come back and haunt us down the line?
These days, we sometimes feel like everyone is doing it, so it’s okay. To not do it seems not personable–that’s the last thing anyone wants to be. But we cannot let the trend of over sharing define how we protect our privacy.
In our person-to-person interactions, we know when we crossed that imaginary line; we can see it through raised eyebrows or a look of shock on the other person’s face.
In social media, we don’t have those clues.
Since we’re operating without clues, we get the impression that it’s okay to let it all hang out. Nothing is try stopping us.
Our privacy really matters, even more so now in a world that is connected online.
Still not sure, how about this experiment?
What are other ways you can think of to protect your privacy in an over sharing society? Do you think that privacy is over rated?