Slightly less than ten years ago, I got on Facebook for the very first time. Back then, Facebook was a small social networking sight that connected college students. At that time, Facebook provided about as much information about a person as the original AOL profile. There was no wall, no tagging. The only information you could find about me was what I wanted you to know.
Over the years, Facebook has changed, now you can view, not only all of the information I have posted about myself over the past ten years, but also anything others have posted about me, photos others have tagged me in, and, worst off all, places other people have tagged me. Not only can you always find me, but I can always figure out where other people are. Rather than the old fashioned Facebook stalking and Google searching we used to do to pick up bits of information on another person, you can accidentally stumble upon people’s whereabouts by glancing at your newsfeed. So, you have information I don’t want you to have about me, and I have information I don’t want about you.
I have been trying to figure out why some social networks work for some and others for others. I hate Facebook, but my parents love it. Apparently the lack of privacy does not bother them. Personally, I am a big fan of Twitter. Twitter is just short snippets of information. People who follow me can only see what I post, not information posted about me. And, just because someone follows me does not mean I have to follow them. Which means, my Twitter feed is comprised of only information I am interested from people that I think are funny. My sister loves Instagram, she loves that it is so easy. It is just a series of images she can glance at and only zone in on the ones that catch her eye.
My question is why is it that some people don’t mind this total lack of privacy? Why do some people feel the need to take it one step further and over share on their walls? Why is it that some people are more than happy to post their every location and tag all of the people that they are with? Why is it not enough to share every detail of your life, but mine as well?
There have been several articles written in the past couple of years about the influx of narcissism and how certain social media sites are contributing to it. It is difficult to say whether these sites are causing people to become more narcissistic or whether the growing narcissism is why people have become so taken with social media, but it is obviously playing a part.
It is an interesting query for which I have no real answers. All I can say is that every so often, it is probably a good idea to step back from the screen, talk to some real life people, and maybe think before you post.