Remember what the Presenter says to the `housemates’ (contestants) in a popular reality TV show ..`You are live on TV..Please do not swear!” Well, the same goes for Social Media Network sites..
Take facebook for instance. Last time I checked it had about 1 billion members (assuming people don’t have multiple accounts..which they do…about a Million of them, according to previous news reports). Now the World population is about 8 billion people. So In this network alone, there’s about one eighth of the World population.
Now most people have their accounts as `public’ …(let’s discuss privacy issues in another post). So effectively, anyone of those 1 billion people on that site could take a look at anyone’s profile and status posts!
Everyday people who post ordinary stuff.. what they eat, where they went, who they met, their thoughts and feelings..and reactions.. what their pet is doing.. etc etc.. And they forget as they immerse themselves in this everyday sharing..(which is exactly what the site wants you to do) – that others are watching.
No problem.. if you are one of those people who don’t care about what others may think of you. But if you are one of the people who’s public credibility and reputation matters …in your social or community standing, or more alarmingly, in your career… then you really don’t want to be leaving a trail of self- incriminating evidence…on your own personal profile or status updates!
The problem is.. personal profile and personal status updates are exactly that – personal. So it makes sense to write what you are thinking and feeling – without censoring it. Isn’t that what sharing sis? Well, yes, with your trusted inner sanctum of family and/or friends…in a private post or message.. or even in a private group.
But not in public.. or somewhere where potentially one of the or all of the other 1 billion people could look!
They don;t know you – and most likely, they won’t care.. other than take it as that moment’s entertainment. (After all, people do watch Soaps and dramas on TV…and enjoy the troubles and tribulations of `soap characters’ lives’ …Don’t they? So why wouldn’t some people also behaving in enjoy reading about the trials, tribulations, tempers and tantrums ..of another stranger? ie you!)
Unless you’ve got your online privacy set sky-high – better than Fort Knox – and only your friends can see every word you type in your status updates- you really should not behaving in a manner that can come back and bite your reputation and credibility.
This is particularly important – I mean your online credibility – if you are a person who is a `public personality’ (known by many and is a wheeling n dealing life n soul of the party person), is providing a community or public product or service.
Words spread fast in the winds.. and faster in internet streams..pixel to pixel ..r and screen to screen.. and a personal disclosure or an emotional outburst of today..could topple the entire Empire tomorrow..! Smallest slips…and people will jump on you and tear your credibility apart..!!
We live in a Social media world, where even a genuine mistake or misunderstanding, or a technical (website) glitch… can be taken by some blinkered people (friends even) and escalated into a storm…that tears through one’s social, emotional or personal life. So if you are intentionally slipping up and leaving trails of self-incriminating evidence.. not even Google can help you wipe it out!
Even if you delete your posts, no telling if an e-mail notification of it went into the inbox of all your contacts.. and here’s the thing… today’s `friends’ (one of 200 or one of 2,000!) can turn our and become tomorrow’s foes…and then they’ll have the perfect tool to bring you down.. your own words!!