And Everything In Between: Social Media, Social Interaction, Social Overexposure?

I officially feel uncomfortably overexposed on social media.
(More on being comfortably  overexposed, later..)

The moment
Whilst engaging with a member of the male gender on a dating app last Sunday, I had a moment where I felt uncomfortable about my social media presences.

The conversation went like this —

Male: Hey how are you? 🙂
Me: Hey. I’m good, how are you?
Male: I’m good thanks, so what do you do for study or work?
Me: I work at (name of my workplace)
Male: Doing? And I’m a (name of his occupation) 🙂 What’s your Instagram?
Me: (describes my occupation, what I like about it). Why do you want to know my instagram?
Male: To view it 🙂 And oh okay 🙂 so why are you single?
Me (slightly offended at this Q(!)): Right….. why are you single?
Male: I haven’t found the right person I guess 🙂 You?
Me: Pretty much the same.
Male: So what’s your Instagram 🙂 ?
Me: (It took me about 15 minutes to avoid answering this, and decide to answer honestly): I don’t want to give personal information away yet. We are still strangers! What got you into (name of his occupation)?

The last comment was ‘the moment’ where I felt uncomfortably overexposed.
Why?
I didn’t want this guy to check out my personal or blog-based Instagram, look at pictures of me and ‘size me up’ or ‘perve’ on me before (or if!) we decided to meet in person. I felt vulnerable because I felt he wanted to see more of what I looked like/posted.

The Discomfort

Could it be illogical that I feel perturbed/uncomfortable by someone asking me for my social media ‘credential(s)’ ?

Hundreds or thousands of people (most of whom I have never met) follow or view the things I post on social media everyday – or could use my images without my permission.

Strange that I, along with others, feel comfortable with a large number of followers on social media; yet feel uncomfortable at being observed by strangers (people I don’t know).

Social media is good for business; and in 2015 we also market ourselves, the individuals.

How much exposure for personal, non-business social media is ‘too much’?

The Safety Measures

There are plenty of good recommendations from Government Departments and Not-for-Profit Organisations on how to ‘stay safe’ online. I am only lightly touching on cyber security here, but some people do put email addresses, other social media contact details in their “About Me”. Businesses also put in phone numbers and addresses for commercial purposes, this can carry its own risks, but few major Departments/Institutions  who do use social media, put vulnerable information up publicly.

The Federal Department of Communication have some great tips for internet users via http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/

Some of their “Tips” (Click on “Find out about different social media sites”, then “Tips”):

1. Putting personal information online – including photos – can put people at risk. Use your privacy settings, because once it’s online it’s really hard to take down.

2. Some devices and websites can pinpoint your exact location and publish it online. Check your device settings to make sure this doesn’’t happen without you knowing!

3. Don’t let the anonymity that is offered by some online services affect the way you behave. There are many ways that your identity can be exposed online so don’t do or say anything that you might regret, it can have serious consequences!

As do Kids Helpline via http://www.kidshelp.com.au/

1. Don’t give out any personal information to people you haven’t met in “real life”.

2.Don’t give out your personal details like your full name, phone number, date of birth or address – as these can be used by someone to find you.

3.Be careful about what pictures you put up online. Remember, strangers can sometimes work out where to find you from photos that include signs, familiar places or school or sports uniforms. You might like to use a photo of something else you like instead.

Really fascinating and practical pieces of advice! Awareness is the best weapon.

The Concluding Remarks

It is important to be aware of these things, so my recommendations would be to set aside 30 minutes to go through your social media accounts’ privacy settings and adjust them.

With regard to feeling overexposed, I feel that tip 2 from Kid’s Helpline, to not give out personal details is an interesting one. Our social media accounts are not ours, in truth; they are owned legally by Twitter/Facebook/the site administrator; we just sign up for them, on their terms, not ours. Which makes checking your privacy settings so important.

Strangely enough, our social media accounts are personal in that they are an extension of our personality, but they are not personally owned by us, and many more people publicly see them that what we know.

Strange world.

I didn’t give that guy my Instagram handle.

What are your thoughts? Had any interesting or unnerving experiences online?

Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing!

A x

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