There is nothing that sets tongues wagging faster than the topic of social media and our privacy. Though social media has allowed us to connect in ways we can only imagine, it has also played devil’s advocate and overshared parts of our lives that used to remain private. When it comes to impacting our privacy, social media has changed in so many ways. Firstly, social media sites now have discovered ways to see what sites or pages you visit and curate ads and content specifically for you. They have found ways to do this without even asking your consent anymore which I personally find a bit terrifying because if they can see that, what else can they see. Social media or new media has also impacted our privacy in such ways that if you share some exciting news on there and something falls through, you now have to answer many questions for curious people when you may not necessarily want to talk about it. Some societal shifts I have noticed are things like employers keeping tabs on their employees through social media and if they don’t see something they like, then they may potentially fire the employee. Same things goes for prospective employers looking up potential employees and seeing something on their profile that they may not agree with and then subsequently not hiring that person. I have even seen friends look up people they are interested in dating on social media, and then making their final decision about said person after they have visited their profile! All of this behaviour is crazy!
When it comes to what people share on social media that they wouldn’t normally share in person, the sky’s the limit. I’ve seen people discuss being fired, miscarriages, separations, even photos that should be locked away for years on social media. For some reason, social media gives us this confidence if you can call it that to say whatever we feel like on there, without any instant reactions like you would normally receive when having an in person conversation. Since you aren’t getting that instant reaction of shock or surprise or disappointment, we feel more compelled to overshare. I was reading one article that specifically studied teens, and it said that teens are more likely to share five personal things about themselves today than they did five years ago! That is huge change! There is an advantages to sharing personal information on social media and being a little less private such as seeing that there is an online community that is willing to lend support of times of need. However, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages such as receive criticism from people viewing your content, or potentially being fired from a job or not being hired due to what is on your social media profile. Overall, social media is great because it does allow us to sometimes be a bit more intimate about our lives with those we want to share it with, but the key is knowing where the limit is, and that is something we are all still trying to figure out.