I cringed outwardly the other day when I saw a photo posted by an acquaintance on social media. Not because it was your typical run-of-the-mill overshare, inappropriate photo or pointless duck-face public bathroom selfie; though those photos do make me cringe inwardly. No, this was worse. This was a photo she posted of her daughter standing in front of the big sign in front of her new school with the name of not only the school but the new city in which they were located. Now the entire internet knows where her little girl goes to school. There is nothing I can think of that’s worse than that.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I recently came across a photo on social media of a checkbook with the check number, the bank name, the routing and account numbers and the last name and address of the account holder not blacked out. The only thing blacked out was the first name of the person who owns the checkbook, but the poster put that person’s first name in the post. I cannot get over these things.
I don’t allow my children’s schools to tag me in photos of my kids on their social media pages simply because I do not want anyone knowing where they attend classes. Why? Crazy people. Kidnappers. Rapists. Murders. Bombers. I don’t want people knowing these things. It’s also why you will not find photos of my house number on the internet, either. The simple fact of the matter is that there are so many ways you’re getting yourself in trouble on social media, and you don’t even realize it. So much of it might seem like common sense to me (and probably you) but it escapes many; and things you don’t even know you’re doing might be getting you in trouble without your realization.
You know by now that prospective employers and clients and even your current employer is all over your social media page trying to see what kind of reputation you’re making for yourself on the internet. While they probably don’t care too much about that photo of you celebrating your wedding anniversary with a glass of champagne, they probably don’t think much of the photo of you in your bikini on your recent vacation throwing back two shots at a time.
I know it is your personal life, it’s not on company time and you can do what you want; but you also have to know that people don’t want to associate their business with someone who posts ample photos of this nature on their social media – and don’t ever talk about work whether it’s good or bad.
As I mentioned above, you might think that a photo you post is adorable – but it might be bad. It might have your street name in the background. It might have your house number off to the side. It might have a piece of mail in it that shows off your address. That photo you have right there of your little one taking a bath might be adorable, but it’s a nude baby. You and I probably look at it and think what a cute, fat baby with ankle rolls and arm rolls and big eyes, but someone else might look at it and save it to their computer and use it for inappropriate, disgusting, awful purposes. Some people are sick; don’t help them out.
Posting your phone number
Honestly, I don’t know why people do this. They post “call me!” and then put their phone number on the computer for anyone and everyone to see. You can send a private message, and that’s a far better idea than sending someone your phone number on the internet where anyone can see it. You never know who might get that in their own hands and use it for inappropriate reasons.
Highlight reel envy
Finally, you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into when you take to social media. You might be one of the millions of people who get themselves in financial trouble staring endlessly at someone’s amazing life on social media. Millions of young men and women want to be more like the people who post incessant vacation photos, new car photos, big house photos and luxury designer items photos; but not everyone can afford it.
Don’t let the highlight reel of someone else’s life get you into financial trouble trying to keep up. Be grateful for what you have and work harder to achieve the life you want; but don’t let social media get you in financial trouble.
Social media can be fun and exciting, but it can also harm you in ways you might not realize. Take care to keep your page appropriate, to keep personal information personal and to ensure you are not allowing the good things that someone else posts make you feel inadequate about your own life. Don’t be a victim.
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