Do Not Disturb
Complaining of a lack of privacy after posting on social media is like griping at getting wet after jumping into a swimming pool. Both are obvious and inevitable outcomes of performing the stated actions. Just as entering a pool will have you soaked within a matter of seconds, engaging in social media will invariably cause you to lose some of your privacy. In fact, the formal definition of privacy is “the state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people.” So whenever we pause our daily activities to document an experience on social media, we are essentially asking people to participate in a fraction of our daily lives. We’re inviting them to invade our privacy.
That being said, social media is not some great social evil perpetuated by misguided individuals. Having the ability to connect with thousands of people apart from ourselves gives us immense personal power, freedom, and flexibility. In an instant, we can share our distinct perceptions, ideas, and sentiments with the world, when in the past it may have taken a significant amount of time to gain any sort of recognition. With extensive forums like WordPress, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, we can easily forgo the lengthy publishing process with the quick click of a button.
Unwilling to accept that an incredible moment in the present, let’s say a party, lunch at a fancy restaurant, a bustling concert, or the beautiful sands of a beach, will quickly slip away to become the distant past, we must immediately capture the moment and post it to social media. And there the memory shall forever stay to be vigorously liked over the course of the next several hours.
In terms of our response to this rapid feedback, seeing a simple like flash on your notifications triggers an unmistakable surge of endorphins. Someone recognized and appreciated your input into the vast void of the Internet! Incredible! You surely must post again to receive the same warm response! And with social media making us feel more connected with the world and people around us, all is well.
But the problem arises when we notice that people outside our immediate friend circle have access to our personal information. Strangers. Most of us don’t like that. In spite of our constant posting, we still have some need for privacy. What then is our next line of defense?
We strive to regulate who has access to the information we share online, limiting it only to our friends and family. However, we don’t do this without a price. When we limit who sees what we have posted on any form of social media, we substantially reduce our potential following. And while that may be irrelevant to some, it is incredibly important to others. Thus, we must constantly strive to maintain a balance between sharing moments of our lives with the world and veritably keeping our privacy.
As for me, I don’t post anything on the Internet that I wouldn’t want the world seeing. Yes, I’m aware that I have the ability to restrict access to certain images and content, but I know better than to ever share anything compromising. As the vast, powerful, and uncertain space that the Internet is, anyone could easily breach anything I privately post, thereby damaging my personal and professional reputation. In essence, let us appreciate social media for the potent force it has become in our lives, while strive to maintain a balance between connecting with the world and keeping our privacy.