The Social Revolution and Your Privacy
by Connie H. Deutsch
Usually when there is a revolution it makes sense intellectually and emotionally. I suppose this one does, too. I call it the Social Revolution because the nucleus lies in the psychological pull of people needing attention and love and not knowing where or how to get it without endangering themselves.
Millions flock to the social networking sites to share pieces of themselves and to satisfy a need to connect with others without opening themselves up to rejection. Some of them give their real name and even tell where they live. Most of them hide behind screen names but this doesn’t guaranty that they will not be bullied. In fact, there have been several cases of teenagers who have been the objects of bullying over the Internet, several of whom have committed suicide because they couldn’t take it anymore.
I’m always amazed at the kind of information that people give absolute strangers in their need for love and attention. Information that can be deadly. Information that can lead to personal material losses. Information that can lead to betrayal. Information that is so personal that I shudder at the thought that people reveal these kinds of details in an open forum.
And it’s dangerous . . . There have been many cases of people posting their itinerary on one of these sites for when they are going on vacation. They list all the places they are going to and the date when they will be returning. Each day, they take pictures of where they are and post them on their networking page. Surprise, surprise. When they come back from vacation, their house has been burglarized, and in some cases, even vandalized.
Then, there are the people who call in sick at work and instead meet their friends at a bar. In one of their DUH moments, they have a friend take a picture of them partying and then they post this picture on their networking page. The next day, they are so surprised when they are called into their boss’s office and fired because the boss has seen their picture and knows that they went to a bar instead of coming to work.
And of all the DUH moments I can think of, the one where people are going through a hotly contested divorce putting incriminating pictures on the Internet that attorneys are using to win their cases takes the cake. Finances and custody issues are so crucial to the mental and emotional stability of a person it’s a wonder that someone would share this kind of information with anyone until there is a final divorce decree. And yet, they do. In public venues and in very large numbers.
Just about everyone has heard of the myriad scams on these social networking sites and yet people get drawn into them regardless of the consequences. They send money that they can’t afford to lend to people they have never met who post on their page that they are stranded in a foreign country without the money to get home. It’s amazing how they pull off these scams but it’s even more amazing how many people fall for them without even checking their veracity.
I realize that these social networking sites are a way to feel popular without having to get embroiled in the messy emotions of the daily interaction of close friends. They can look at all the people who “friend” them on their page and feel great about the fact that they have 500 “friends.” When their telephone doesn’t ring with invitations they can always turn on their computer and revel in the fact that they have these 500 “friends” even though they never get invited to their house or go on vacation with them.
And still the need to share the most private of information with a network of “friends” you will never meet in person. But, please, I caution you . . . Don’t tell anyone where or when you will be going on vacation or where you store your jewelry and precious metals. Don’t tell them how much money you have or what you spend it on. Don’t tell them how you are having a red-hot affair and posting pictures of the two of you if you are married and/or filing for divorce.
If you really feel like sharing your intimate details or letting the world know that you are going on a vacation, having an affair, hoarding gold and silver, or smuggling contraband, don’t post this information and put pictures up on your page. Instead, get it all out of your system by writing about it in an article for an online magazine. By the time it’s published and people have actually read it, your affair will be over, your court case will be settled, you will be back from your vacation without your house having been robbed and your embarrassing moments will be long forgotten.