8 Things You Should Never Share On Social Media

These days social media is a big part of people’s lives. It’s great for keeping in touch with family and friends, allowing you to share your life with others.

Often it’s worth thinking twice before posting certain things of yourself online. That’s because what you post online is out there forever and can be used against you.

To share or not to share ourselves with the rest of the world. Evanescence, Synthesis 2018 Tour.

To share or not to share ourselves with the rest of the world. Evanescence, Synthesis 2018 Tour | Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

You might have a few strangers on your Facebook friend list. Perhaps most of your Twitter and LinkedIn followers are connected to your professional circles but you’ve never met them before.

Who knows who is looking at your social media networks. Even if you restrict social media privacy settings, anyone whom you trust could screenshot and share your content elsewhere.

As a blogger, I’m careful of what I say on this blog. The topics I write about are sensitive and it’s easy to rub others the wrong way. I also like my personal life to remain personal.

What you share online can harm your privacy, security and reputation. Keeping in mind what you share online may never be hidden again, here are eight things you shouldn’t post on your social media platforms.

The more reserved we are, the less we might share.

The more reserved we are, the less we might share.

1. Where you work

When you talk about your job online, anyone can potentially look up where you work. They might then pay you an unwelcome visit at work. That anyone could be someone who has a vendetta against you or your beliefs which you shared on social media.

That said, some employers will insist on sharing your details on their website, believing it’s a good way to network. For some lifestyle and travel bloggers who blog for a living, sharing personal anecdotes is an integral part of their blog’s brand.

On this blog and my private social media accounts, I don’t mention where I work or the industry I’m working in. Though I don’t think people who send me emails accusing me of being a white worshipper or asking to hit me up will actually hunt me down, you just never know.

Some of us are selective with what we share, and to whom.

Some of us are selective with what we share, and to whom.

2. Real time location

When you share real time location through Facebook check-ins, GPS photo tagging or live Instagram streams, there’s every chance someone can track your whereabouts and where you live.

Geotagging or attaching exact location identification metadata to social media posts is a subtle way of shouting ‘I am here right now’, compromising your privacy and personal security.

While location tagging has helped nabbed criminals in India, it can make it easy for others to follow you for the wrong reasons. For the same reasons I don’t talk about my day job online, I don’t post online location updates too.

3. Personal details

It’s best to keep personal information such as credit card details, passwords, residential addresses and phone numbers private to avoid identity theft. Cyber-criminals commonly use these details to impersonate you or get closer to your family and friends.

There’s also no guarantee your details will be secure on social media networks. For instance, an estimated 87 million Facebook users had their information potentially leaked in a data and privacy breach incident.

When there’s a professional need to share your contact details online, share them with discretion. A journalist or freelance photographer might put up work-related contact details online for others to reach them. List an email address along the lines of monkeyhello(at)mrwobbles.com to avoid web-crawling-spam-sending robots.

For a moment, sharing might be liberating

For a moment, sharing might be liberating

4. An entire portfolio of works

The bigger your online portfolio, the more confusing it might be for others to get a feel of your craft.

A selective portfolio often helps bloggers, writers and freelancers create a niche and find their audience. If someone is really interested in your work, they’ll make genuine contact to find out more about what you do.

When you share your art and work online, chances are someone will blatantly copy it without permission or attributed credit. Perhaps install disabling right-click-copy-paste plugins to minimise content theft.

Some of what I’ve blogged about has been copy-pasted on websites without my permission. It really is too bad, too sad as not everyone understands copyright laws – some downright ignorant as wekk. I no longer put up full-resolution photos and include watermarks over resized versions.

5. Disagreements

Getting involved in gossip and slandering others online potentially leads to defamation, reputation damage and legal proceedings. Drama makes everyone look bad. In 2017 a beauty blogger was sued for shaming her wedding photographer online who charged additional fees.

If you can’t agree, agree to disagree and state your opinion in a level-headed manner. Or not at all.

Some of us will fear the uncertainty that sharing brings.

Some of us will fear the uncertainty that sharing brings.

6. Friends and family

Not everyone likes having an online presence. Not all of your family and friends want to be appear on your Facebook feed or Twitter timeline. That should be respected if you want their respect and trust.

7. Secrets

When you share someone’s deepest secrets online, others might see them in an unfavourable light. You put their reputation at risk.

Personal experiences are often open to interpretation and can be so easily twisted into different perceptions than intended. You might also lose the trust of that someone who shared their deepest stories with you.

Sometimes things that are incredibly personal to us will be hard to share.

Sometimes things that are incredibly personal to us will be hard to share.

8. Romantic relationships

There are arguments for and against sharing romantic relationships online. Research has found couples who express their love for each other online tend to be content together in the long run.

However other research suggests couples who post about their love lives online might be more insecure and unhappy about their relationship. Notably each relationship is different.

Perhaps refrain from sharing all of your relationships online. Few relationships in your life will be really, really special. Sometimes special things are best enjoyed in solitude without others looking in.

I’ve never understood how some share photos and videos of their partners and children so freely online, including engagements, weddings, births and vacations. Perhaps they want to share their happiness with the world.

To me, having that special person is just too special to share on a public blog and my private social media accounts. So no comment from me about my past and present relationship statuses anywhere online.

Some of us might never be ready or willing to share. But we may try.

Some of us might never be ready or willing to share. But we may try.

*  *  *

Everyone uses social media differently for different reasons. Arguably certain generations share more of their lives online, especially millennials.

According to the 2016 Census, there are around 1.7 million Facebook users between 16-39 years old in Australia. A study found young Australians discover their identities through shared online interactions. Another study found people use Facebook to express their true selves and feel a sense of belonging.

Millennials are also branding themselves as social influencers, finding new careers by sharing their lives and whereabouts online alongside promoting products – and getting paid for it all.

Honestly I don’t like using social media very much and have gone days without going on Facebook and Twitter. There are also days where I don’t want to blog and instead eat all the snacks I want.

Some of us will share...and will find a way to fly under the radar.

Some of us will share…and will find a way to fly under the radar.

When I feel like it, what I will blog about are the topics of cultural nuances and cultural perspectives sans much personal anecdotes. I might also share and Tweet about other blogs and bloggers if there’s a mutual respect for each other’s works.

Drawing a line between my online persona and personal life, and keeping each separate, is what I choose to do. So be it.

It’s easy to share anything and everything about yourself online. But when you share selectively and share with intent, what you share online often is meaningful.

How much do you share on social media?

236 thoughts on “8 Things You Should Never Share On Social Media

  1. This is a wonderfully written post, Mabel. Unfortunately, today’s world seems to be all about social media. It seems to be the ‘cool’ kid in town. I’ve even heard some people say that those not on Facebook and/or Twitter are weird! I do use social media platforms, but I’ve cut right back on the number I use. Spreading ourselves too thinly on social media is not good. I use social media for both promoting my blog and book and rarely go into any personal details. I have a ‘contact Hugh’ page on my blog rather than giving out my email address so that anyone who wants to contact me has to go through WordPress first. It also acts as a barrier against the trolls who may want to contact me via email. I’ve had a few trolls visit my blog, but I always delete their comments and never respond to them.

    Like you, I’m amazed at some of the information I’ve seen bloggers give on their blogs. Some even go as far as giving out their address and phone number, whereas a ‘contact me’ page, is much safer. It may be a case of not knowing how to set one up, but there’s plenty of free information out there on how to create one. Another bit of personal information I’ve never given out on my blog is the date of my birthday. I’ve seen many blog posts announcing it’s the bloggers 30th, 35th 40th… birthday. Just from that, somebody can get your date of birth.

    As bloggers, we’re always going to encounter readers who don’t agree with us. That’s fine when their comments are written in a constructive and professional way, but some people really don’t care what they say. Still, I’m just very glad that the positives of blogging far outweigh the negatives.

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    • You are spot on, Hugh. Facebook and Twitter seem the most popular platforms (and also Instagram) but it can be challenging keeping up with all of them. You spend time on one, you spend time on another, and there goes all of your time – so easy to get carried away. I also have a contact page as opposed to publishing my email out right on my blog. Sorry to hear that you’ve had trolls visit my blog. Not responding is a good response. No need to pay them attention and hope they go away and don’t disturb you again. Agree that there will be people who won’t always agree with us, and we can all do with constructive criticism.

      It also amazes me how some bloggers give out their contact details so freely. If they are okay to put up with the risks, so be it. Unlike you, my birthday is on the internet, just the date but not the year. You really don’t know what someone can do with your date of birth.

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  2. What a relevant post, Mabel and as always I love your researched nuggets. Like you already know, my blog is personal and full of memoirs. I try to not take names so protect identities but I use letters like VT. I am wary of personal pictures but at the same time like you said, screen shots are easy from other platforms too. There is no way to know if a FB friend will safely use data that she has access too. Geotagging is scary and I prefer to avoid too. I think I am learning. As much as I want to stay away, I have my name and my Linkedin profile on my blog. People are capable of putting two and two together.
    On a different note, some people use blogs as personal diaries and then I would say it is too much to put it out there on the internet but to be true, there are levels. While I may be on one, you are on the other and likewise. Our privacy is very much in our hands and sharing all that we end up sharing is in many ways, scary.
    Thought provoking post!

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    • ‘researched nuggets’. You are too kind, Parul. Thank you 🙂 You bring up a good point in that you never know if an Facebook friend or ‘friend’ will actually take your data and publish it elsewhere. You just never know. Like you I also have my name and LinkedIn profile on my blog. But I am very mindful of what I share on LinkedIn and in all honestly, there is nothing much on there except a bit about my ambitions to be a writer. I have always enjoyed your blog for what it is: a mix of stories of strong women, lifestyle tips and a bit about what you are greatful for in your life. Can tell you are proud of what you have got but at the same time keep things you want to keep to yourself private. I’m going to come over to your blog soon, and if I have any issues with that again I’ll let you know 🙂

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  3. I am a bit late, Mabel, but must comment on this post as well – don’t think I did? I try to catch up after the trip to Bhutan, but honestly – this country had me, and has me, still in a tight grip. Unforgettable, hopeful and loving.

    Now – your post. “One’s private life is not everyone’s business.” No, it is certainly not. Your policy is perfect – keep it personal but not private. I try to keep it that way as well, for all the reasons you mention. I admit it can be tempting to reveal more openly things you should not reveal – but I don’t do that. What I do, is sometimes publish photos of my grown-up children. (Maybe I shouldn’t, but as they are my greatest pride and joy, I sometimes do.) I hope to reach out anyway, trying to be sensible, mostly positive and always honest.

    What I find among the most disturbing things with IT, fb, twitter etc. is the spreading of”fake news” and the possibility of “destroying” people with degrading comments. I never had those problems in my classes, mostly science classes and electricians, but I know other teachers who had to fight several conflicts.

    I once had a student who, when asked to google himself, found – nothing. Actually he was the only guy in my classes who consciously tried NOT to be on the internet. And he succeeded. A smart guy in one of the science classes. This was in 2015, and he was 19. He had my absolute admiration!

    Thank you for another interesting post, Mabel – I am glad to be here with you.

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    • Don’t think you swung by this one, Leya. You were rightfully enjoying Bhutan and having a great experience and now you are sharing it so genuinely with us 🙂

      Once again, you have philosphical musings to share, and thank you for that. I like how you say it: ‘keep it personal but not private’. It can certainly be tempting to share more about our lives. For instance, we may be proud of the people we know, proud of our achievements and just want to share to guide others along the way or share what we feel.

      Fake news is always a concern, just like gossip and rumours. Things spread so fast on the internet these days, and hence spread around the world so quickly and sometimes faster than we can reflect on what has happened – and that is how many of us jump to conclusions, by going along with what others have said and how they reacted.

      That student of yours who doesn’t have an internet presence is admirable, and not even coming up in Google. He sounds like a very sensible one and hope he goes far. These people with no internet presence can be hard to find these days. I only know of a few people who don’t appear on Google – they don’t spend time at all on social media, and are very driven individuals.

      Once again, thanks for your input, Ann-Christine. Always appreciate. Also hope you don’t mind that I refer to you both as Anne-Christine and Leya… they are great names 🙂

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  4. I probably share abit too much.
    Still, there’s other stuff not out there. I’ve seen enough that I could happily enough blog fodder for at least another decade. After that, I’ll have to think or..imagine more. 😀

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  5. First I love example using Mr Wobbles’ email address

    Second – horrified at the stalker comments you have received. I guess you’ve really made it when you have some low-life cyber troll nipping at your heels.My advice to them …get a life.

    Third – I had to go look at your LinkedIn profile when you said that you don’t share where you work, and indeed, you don’t. Just curious, do you find any challenges when looking for work of having a LinkedIn profile with limited information?

    Fourth – Most of my ‘location shares’ on Social Media are super duper vague or after the fact, but I do share my anchorage location on Farkwar, Twitter, and the side-bar on my blog. Likely the only people that I have to fear are pirates and I might reconsider location sharing if we wander into any known pirated waters. But I don’t think I have to worry about other crazed lunatics finding me on the high seas

    Fifth – totally agree with you on 4, 5, 6, and 7. Especially 5 and There is enough negativity in the world. I don’t want to add to it

    Sixth – With regard to 8 – My Facebook profile does not say ’in a relationship with’ because I think that is incredibly stupid. And Fabio only appeared as ‘The Captain’ for the first 3 years of my blog because he wanted anonymity. Once he published his book, I convinced him to let me use his name on the blog. Still, I like ‘The Captain’ and use it often. Just don’t call me Tennille.

    Seventh – love your concert pictures as always. Supreme!

    Eighth – I find myself being a lot less active on Social Media these days. Too busy traveling and sailing. I find myself spending the predominance of my limited on-line time in the blog because I like the relationships I have formed there and its my own space. Maybe with some downtime (that never seems to come) in The Maldives, I will get back into IG as well.

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    • Mr Wobbles is delighted that you noticed his email. He doesn’t get much attention these days 😐😃🙈 🙉💙

      Trolls can be hard to deal with…but as you said, that’s when you have made an impact, maybe touched a nerve or in other words incited feeling in someone else.

      My LinkedIn profile is really bare. Thank you so much for looking lol 😀 It’s hard to answer your question. I’ve actually never used LinkedIn that much when it comes for searching for work. That said, I’m well aware that it is a great marketing tool and a space where you can make professional connections and get noticed by the industries you want to work with regardless of one’s personality. In general, I’ve always found it challenging to find work, at least work that I don’t mind doing.

      It is nice how you keep us updated on where Amandla is through Twitter as you are sailing, the anchorage locations which I think what that is. Gives us a piece of mind that you are still out there journeying with so little on your backs. If you ever encounter pirates, Mr Wobbles is certain that you and Amandla will be able to take them on with banana skins as your defence. Too easy.

      I also think the ‘in a relationship’ Facebook status thing with is stupid too. Sure, people can see that as a way of expressing their love for someone else that way. That is them, okay. To me, when you are with someone for life, you are not just in a relationship but their lifelong partner and committed to them, friend, best friend, confidant and so much more than just ‘a relationship’ or two people together.

      Concerts are amazing and hopefully I get to go to more soon 🙂

      Spend as much time as you like away from social media these days. There’s a world out there for you to explore and explore while you can. You have come so far and many more adventures to come for you, Lisa. Sail on and we will see you when we’ll see you ❤

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  6. I do share some of these things, but try to be careful as well. I do share where I am sometimes, but not often. I am also careful of putting pictures of family and friends. I hate it myself when others put picture of me in the social media without asking first. Personal data is a no no, for me as well.
    In general I do not share much on FB, instagram or snapchat… I try to keep my personal life on the blog as well, as much a possible atleast 🙂

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    • Maybe your friends are just eager to share you and your friendship online. But like you, I also don’t like it too much when people put photos of me online. If they ask beforehand, I’m usually okay with it.

      I like how your blog is so travel-focused and you got a clear sense of direction about what you write, Hanne 🙂

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  8. When I was younger, my father and Canadian uncle impressed on me the importance of limiting exposure of personal information on-line, with a view to minimise risk of identity theft (as you already mention). Of course, this was before the days of the social media revolution – so-called ‘Web 2.0’ – and I think the prevailing mentality has changed dramatically since then. I find it quite perplexing and ironic that people will often be overly concerned about the kind of information the government has on them, yet will be all too willing to give over all kinds of personal information to the likes of Facebook, et al. If the government can’t be trusted to have your well-being at heart, how can you expect that corporations will?

    1. Interesting that at least the company worked for is a core part of LinkedIn. But certainly I wouldn’t expect the exact location of work should be standard information, that sounds like a bad idea – and as you say, an invitation for haters to come and find you.

    Why would anyone accuse you of being a ‘white worshipper’, I don’t know. I think I am more ‘white’ than what you write about here. I suppose when you write publicly like this you have to expect anything. That’s why I could never be a member for parliament – I don’t have the thick skin needed for the job.

    ‘One job worked doesn’t wholly define you.’ I take that further and say work doesn’t – or shouldn’t – define you at all. We have a tendency, at least in the westernised Anglosphere, to ask ‘what do you do?’ when trying to make conversation. It might be a reasonable conversation point, but often the underlying mentality is that our occupations are what defines us – or at least is a major part of it. A peron in a low-paying job, however intelligent and over-qualified he or she might be, may be frowned upon or ostracised, simply because he/she has had to accept whatever job was available instead of the job he/she aspires to.

    2. Heh, with the 2G shut-down in Australia I recently migrated to a ‘smart’ phone. I definitely keep the location function switched off most of the time, though – I only ever activate it if I need direction (like I did a couple of times while overseas recently) but always switch it off straight afterwards. I can certainly see the appeal of sharing real-time location with friends… but does that outweigh the risk of corporations or malicious hackers examining your real-time location and movement history? For me, it’s a definite no. (I recognise that even older mobile phones inherently have location tracking by virtue of having a specific cell tower your phone is connected to, but that’s at a very broad level.)

    3. I found it hilarious – and also quite distressing – when I learned of some people posting photos of their credit card on social media. Even worse are those who are puzzled as to why people are asking them for a photo of the back… and do it anyway! And these are promptly followed by posts exclaiming that they’ve had to cancel their card because of big purchases suddenly being racked up on them…

    4. Regarding plagiarism… sadly it will happen anywhere there is literary or artistic works published. I saw it when I was (more) active on deviantART and I fully expect that it still happens – it’s sad because it means popular artists will only ever publish tiny (as opposed to medium, still not full) resolutions of their works, which makes it harder to appreciate.

    I hadn’t heard of those disabling plug-ins… but I’m sure anyone who knows even a bit about tech can circumvent them. I suppose they’re good for stopping the casual thief, though.

    5. It’s the natural tendency for people to be self-centred (myself included) and part of that will often involve denigrating others, insulting them, and even just outright name-calling. The relative anonymity of on-line interactions provides an incentive for people to show their real selves. While I obviously don’t share here every single thought I have (or anywhere else for that matter), how I’ve written here is pretty much how I am in person. But I know not everyone is like that, which is why I’ve always appreciated – and I know I’ve mentioned this before – how you’ve promoted a constructive, respectful environment for people to discuss things here.

    7. I’m not sure why anyone would post another’s secret – a confidence shared should be a confidence kept. If it’s as part of an illustration, names and locations should be obfuscated and details kept to a minimum. If it’s for ‘revenge’ or other malicious intent… well, see my remarks on point 5.

    8. I think it’s fair to share some basic details, like mentioning a husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend in passing. eg ‘the other day my wife and I went to see X’. Really intimate details… no. While I’m not necessarily turned off by sappiness, and I think romantic love is a beautiful thing, I don’t think it’s necessarily appropriate to share that kind of information with all the world. Like with PDAs, a kiss on the lips is fine, full-on ‘snogging’ and groping… please, no.

    As for photos… even when sharing holiday photos with colleagues, I generally won’t share photos with people I know in them. For their privacy as well as mine. Unless it’s a personal photo on a desk or on the phone, I probably wouldn’t share photos of a girlfriend either.
    I’ve seen reports of those privileged few, who are paid to endorse their products to their followers. I think this was reported in Australia recently, where Asians come to share the sights and products of ‘down under’ with their followers back home.

    Validation is definitely a big thing for some, particularly for younger folks. The prevalence of cyber-bullying in our current school-aged generation is sadly rife, and combined with the anonymity aspect I mentioned above can be devastating for some, even driving a few to suicide, sadly.

    For me, I think the fact that I don’t use mainstream social media does make it hard for me to ‘expand my social circles’ as some of my English relatives have been encouraging me to do while on my recent visit. But for now I will stay off them, for the many of the reasons we’ve discussed here. On the other hand, I’ve been quite open and honest with some of the things I’ve written about here – could someone reconstruct my identity from that?

    Quite possibly, I suppose, but it’s another level of difficulty than, say, pulling someone’s LinkedIn or Facebook account. So I’m definitely on the non-sharing or ‘anti-social’ end of the scale, and I sometimes wonder if my life could have turned out differently if I had been willing to share more of myself with others (I still remember my English school friend’s invitation to join Facebook – I declined and have since lost contact with him as I suppose he doesn’t use his e-mail address any more).

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    • Your father and uncle were wise to teach you to be wary of the online world. But certainly these days it is so hard to get away without an online presence. I feel it is hard to trust anyone in general with your personal information, be it a big corporation or someone you know in real life.

      1 + 2. I’ve seen many companies put their physical location on their website and their employees names on their website, and with LinkedIn this is becoming more common. Even if you have to login to access this information, bottomline is it is still out there. Hope you are getting used to your smart phone 🙂 You’d be surprised at how accurate the location function is at predicting where you are, with coordinates and all. Often these directions are stored or remembered in your phone in some capacity. And this function also drains your battery so much faster.

      ‘when you write publicly like this you have to expect anything.’ You said this well. On this blog I aim for balanced perspective and people migh misinterpret me as not putting down certain ideas as favouring a certain culture.

      True, our occupations defines us and what we learn on the job can shape our thoughts and us as as person. Even if we are overqualified for a job, that job can make us learn a few life-lessons and motivate us even more to better ourselves.

      4. Sometimes I also feel a bit disappointed when I see artists publish a small photo of their works, and as you said, harder to appreciate. You do wonder i their art might go viral if they put up a higher resolution. But I do understand where they are coming from.

      5+7+8 (looks like you missed 6). Some people just like to blab and they blab thinking that they’re sharing something that could benefit all of us, secrets and all – maybe even at the expense of becoming more popular, or maybe this is just the lack of thought on their part. It’s why we should think twice about sharing intimate photos online…and the people in our lives online in general. These days you can discover so much more some people online, so much more than you will ever will in real life.

      ‘Validation is definitely a big thing for some’. Agree with you on that one and commonly it is tied to the idea of acceptance. Cyber-bullying is such a real thing. So many of us so readily believe things we read online, not just because we are gullible but because we honestly believe the best in others and that they are being forthcoming. Being active on social media might contribute to one having more engaging online profile but that doesn’t necessarily translate to how they actually feel for you in real life. But then again, social media IS a tool that can connect, so maybe it can actually bring one more friends eventually.

      I also think you are quite open on here, but I do feel that you aren’t sharing your entire life with us. If anything, if anyone attempts to reconstruct your identity from what you have shared hear, they’d probably paint you for some kind of academic since you write constructively and insightfully. Not a one-liner from you 🙂

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      • I can understand an on-line presence may be necessary for some professions. My youngest cousin in Toronto works in a recruitment and managerial capacity and is very active on mainstream social media (I’d probably learn more about her if I followed those sites instead of writing to her personally). However, sometimes these professional identities can/should be separate from personal ones. Perhaps it’s the case that people are willing to trust those they know in real life and so share freely… without thinking or realising that everything they share is seen by (and in some cases, becomes the property of) the company running the social media platform they are using.

        My current work is for a rather large corporation so knowing the office location doesn’t really help in tracking me down (as there are multiple). However, I can see your point being of concern for smaller companies. My brother works for a small accounting firm and they share a brief profile of the core staff on their web-site. The small company I worked for previously did a similar thing. I suppose it’s to build a rapport with potential clients – knowing and seeing the faces of the people you might be contracting may make a potential customer more inclined to trust who they’re engaging with. I wasn’t so bothered by this though because this was only the general Internet. As social media platforms become increasingly integrated and easily searched, I find the risk for mis-use of information like this increasing.

        You seem to make a great deal of effort to welcome and appreciate all views and remarks (I know because I’ve seen this with your responses to others as well as myself) and that’s remarkable. All the more reason why I can’t see why anyone could accuse you of favouring ‘whites’.

        Actually, I thought we were both saying that occupations *don’t* define us… though they often seem to in the eyes of those who find out what our professions are.

        I ‘skipped’ 6 because I didn’t think I had anything to offer there. 😉 I suppose I’ll say now that I’m one of those friends who asks not to be put on social media, though I’m sure I’ve been in a few group photos that are floating around and it’s scary how accurate things like Google are at finding and cataloguing people’s faces. (Great for scientific advancement in the image recognition field – something I used to work for – not so great for personal privacy.)

        (Typo: I just noticed the heading for point 7: Somebody’ secrets)

        I’ve heard of an awful concept known as ‘revenge porn’ where people take intimate photos of their ex-girlfriends (I suppose ex-boyfriends too but I’d guess that’s less common) and post them publicly as ‘revenge’. Another reason for saving such intimacy for marriage, but the point is that nothing is really private once you release it on-line.

        As relational beings we all seek validation from someone or something. It’s nice to feel accepted and wanted by others, but for me I try to remember that I’m only truly validated and approved by God alone (and not because of anything I might contribute but only because of Jesus’ sacrifice). But for much of the rest of the world, we seek and desire validation from those we know and care about and when we don’t get that validation we feel as though we’re not worth anything. Which is why cyber-bullying can be so crippling especially for younger people. It’s why I feel that, for many, social media may be a good thing in connecting people, I also think it can become an addiction for some, and it also affords opportunities for cowards and social predators to derive a sick sense of joy out of making life a misery for others.

        Likewise, I think you’ve been quite open in your posts although clearly you don’t give every detail of your most personal thoughts and experiences. Anything I share here, I think I’m comfortable with sharing with others, and I think you write in a similar manner. I don’t know about being an ‘academic’! But certainly I only write something on-line (here and elsewhere) if I have something constructive to offer. ‘Likes’ are for lazy people. 😉 And if I’ve written to many of your posts, it’s only because you’ve written in an engaging way that encourages deeper thought and discussion than most.

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        • It’s interesting to hear your youngest cousin works in recruitment and is very active on social media. I’ve come across quite a few who work in recruitment and HR who are indeed very active online, practically 24/7. I guess if someone is comfortable with that and it helps further an ambition they are keen on, so be it. Somehow I read this as ‘Perhaps it’s the case that people are willing to (lose) trust those they know in real life and so share freely’…and your words took on a different meaning altogether. A lot of our interactions are online these days and you wonder who will actually be there for you in real life, face-to-face when you actually need it.

          You said it with your explanation, spot on – that companies put their staff and location details to build rapport with stakeholders. People are people and to network and make connections, there needs to be a human aspect. While social media provides many of us with the veil of anonymity, it is so easy for your information to get out there anywhere in the world. If I was ever working for a company that required them to publish my name online on their website or social networks, I’ll do everything in my power to not make that a reality.

          It is very nice of you to even have a glance at the other comments, Simon. I’m sure the other bloggers appreciate your words of wisdom and presence too 🙂 Each of us have their opinions, some might be more expressive than others. Each to their own.

          Haha, I think most of us are in one of those group photos floating around online. The face-recognition thing is definitely a great innovation but it does border on the creepy side on social media. When you’re tagged in one of those group photos, chances are your friend’s friends will also be see you – so essentially you can have complete strangers looking at what you do.

          Oh dear, typo :/ Thank you. Amazing that you picked up another typo and I really don’t mind that you do. Fixed it up 🙂

          Revenge porn is certainly out there. Come to think of it, any intimate photo of your partner can be potential blackmail evidence for the future. The moral of the story here is be really careful who trust in the real world as well. Which leads to what you’ve expanded upon: validation and belonging. I think all of us want some form of close relationships at the end of the day – whether through online or offline connections. It’s hard to explain why…to be wanted is such a wonderful thing.

          Thank you for the kind words, Simon. Your words and thoughts are most certainly welcomed and appreciated. Maybe one day you will in fact be an academic or at least write a book – and you might beat me to it 🙂

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          • My response that you (initially) mis-read was in reference to your remark that you ‘feel it is hard to trust anyone in general with your personal information’. I’m glad you got my intended meaning eventually (I think). And indeed, that’s the difference between real friends and ‘Facebook friends’.

            Aside: Every time I hear the term ‘stakeholder’ at work, I imagine someone holding a big, juicy piece of steak on a large fork…

            Anyway, I think in the large corporate environment I’m currently in, for now at least, I’m relatively safe from having to publish myself on social media.

            The image recognition work I did previously included (what would now be considered) simple things like number plate recognition. More than ten years later, that there are platforms that can pick out people’s faces with astounding accuracy is both brilliant and terrifying.

            Aye, to be wanted… As I said, we are made as relational beings, hence we desire meaningful relationships.

            Just being honest. 😉 And I’d still be interested to see your book published, don’t know I’d ever write one myself (at least not one that would likely be published in print).

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            • I guess in general it is hard to trust anyone completely unless the two of you know each other well. Even if you tell someone not to share you on their social media, they might just do so, or share your private content elsewhere.

              Are we really made as relational beings? Never thought of that before. But I guess there is much truth for that.

              I am still writing my book. It’s still in the works. Just needs more time 🙂

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              • Well, if God is in perfect relationship with himself (Father, Son, Spirit), and he made humanity in his ‘image’ or character, then yes, I believe we are also relational beings. Even if you don’t believe that, consider that people living in complete isolation are rare and something that’s often deliberately worked at, it doesn’t come naturally. Consider the natural desire that comes with sexual attraction. Consider that even if only on a superficial level, people want to engage with each other on social media. Absolutely, we were designed to be in relationship with one another. 😉

                Completely understand the long process of book-writing. Have a friend who’s also writing, albeit fiction but nonetheless based on her life experiences.

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                • Such a valid point, that people living in complete isolation is rare. I think you or I or someone mentioned this once: behind dreamwork is teamwork, or teamwork makes dreamwork. Very rarely do you meet someone who is happy who got where they are alone. So yes, we are all meant to be in relationships with each other.

                  Maybe writing my book will take a few more years. We will see.

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  9. Mabel, this is quite a timely post, I would say, especially when we hear about all those leaked personal information and all…

    I totally agree with your perspective on what could be shared and what should not be.

    I use facebook to share my blog posts, programmes or events I feel interesting for others and just acknowledge that I exist by liking some of the posts shared by my friends. It’s not a place to let other know about your political or religious views, may be I am trying to be too careful…

    I am active on WhatsApp, but uses it 90% time for official communication and file sharing, but part of numerous groups from which I receive thousands of posts every day 😦

    Reading countless comments above over last couple of days, I could see that there are many who really believe in the positive side of social media.

    My observation is that people who use it wisely belong to an age group from 30 to 45 here in India.

    Most of young kids are not educated well on the pitfalls of digital traps and so is the older generation though their usage is still limited.

    Thank you so much for sharing yet another very interesting post and creating so much meaningful discussions here 🙂

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    • There really are too many incidents of personal information being leaked these days. You just don’t know where your information will go if you put it out there. I like how you are using Facebook, sharing what you are passionate about and what interests you. You can never be too careful – because if you share something sensitive, that can affect your image and reputation.

      Receiving thousands of posts every day sounds like a lot to take in. Maybe you can filter out some posts or groups that are more essential to you, and you would prefer to keep up with first.

      It’s so kind o f you to read the above comments, and the other readers would appreciate your time 🙂 Probably the older generation are more cautious about social media – and they are probably the generation who know how to enjoy life offline more. Thank you so much for your visit, Sreejith. Much appreciated 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. A thoughtful post indeed. I love tge wordpress bloggers conmunity unlike the facebook or instagram. Too much of publicity and too much of bragging can be seen there. Some are really making money out of their blogs and there is kinda bragging which they fondly call as humble bragging about themselves. Accept to most of your points regrading workplace, credit cards, contact info etc.. But some personal stories need a personal touch. At the end of the day it is what you want to share and what not to..

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    • ‘Too much of publicity and too much of bragging can be seen there.’ You summed up how I feel about Facebook and Instagram. True, some bloggers make money off their blogs – and some of them are actually very passionate about what they blog about that anything they make from it is a small bonus.

      We can all share what we want to share. It is completely up to us and what we feel comfortable with putting out there.

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  11. Many of these reasons is exactly why I post under an alias. Bits of reality always slip through, and I am OK with that. But I am not comfortable confirming my identity publicly on my blog while also sharing my deepest thoughts about living as I do. I feel it might be too hurtful to too many people, some may even misconstrue some things I say. While I use my real identity on my artist page on facebook, I generally refrain from making comments about my work or personal life. But over time, as I have made more friends this way, I have become more comfortable sharing my story one on one with them.

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    • You are doing a great job of concealing your identity. Keep on doing that and do it well 🙂 True. People can misconstrue words and what you tell them so easily. It can take time to open up and get to know someone both offline and online. Either way you there is a degree of trust when sharing, and trust is built up over time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely! It’s definitely all about the trust. Maybe because I feel people have lost my trust too many times is why I am super careful about what I say to whom now. But under an alias, there is a degree of freedom. There is a degree of separation between my daily real life identity and my blogging identity, which also helps me observe myself more objectively as I write and not be afraid about it coming back to haunt me in reality. (I suppose it is this anonymity that gives internet trolls feel empowered as well, which is sad)

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        • Interesting to hear you say distinguishing your personal and private lives online help you to write more objectively. Never thought of that, and I learnt this from you today and can apply that to my own writing. Thank you 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  12. What a clear outline of the pros and cons of sharing on the internet. Very useful post Mabel. The extreme I feel is the Kardashian’s who to be fair have made a profession out of sharing on the internet. I believe though that this isn’t the real them, it is a media product. All the same, I would not want to be revealed to that extent. Great quote ‘One job worked doesn’t wholly define you’. We are made up of so many layers. One snapshot doesn’t define but all the same if we want to maintain a sense of meaning and direction in our written work, the information we put out needs a consistency and focus. Thank you for great food for thought. Wishing you a super Sunday my friend.

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    • That is so true, celebrities sharing a lot of their lives online and probably many of us follow suit – and so we all are a media product. Then again, one image of us on the Internet doesn’t define us…but the more we share, the more telling we are about ourselves and our lives. Thank you for stopping by, Lita. Wishing you well for the rest of the week and take care.

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  13. There is a fine line to be drawn on what to share. Consider these competing interests: every person and his or her dog has an opinion to share, so one’s credibility in any field is inevitably drawn from the sum of their historical and cultural experiences. Without that qualification, you’re just another voice in the wind claiming to speak for everyone. tldr: empathy.

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    • That is a valid point, that credibility is drawn from our experiences. Sadly for those who choose not to listen, their own opinion is the only opinion that they’d believe in and they can go to great lengths to try to convince you of that.

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  14. I agree with you on almost everything in your post, Mabel. Only a tiny difference is that, as a digital artist I know how easy it is to remove watermarks, et al, from images, so the only type I use myself is a copyright note on the bottom of the pictures I colour. If someone’s going to steal, they’ll do it anyway. I don’t use right-click protection either, as a screenshot is so easy to do in its place. (And removing the option to right-click also removes the right-click menu for opening content in a different different window, something I rely on a lot and I don’t want to deprive others of that option.) As I say – anyone who is determined will just go ahead, regardless. The major thing with images, I think, is that if one doesn’t want them to go missing, one shouldn’t put them online at all! (Unfortunately for me and other artists, that’s not really an option!)

    I use Facebook very sparingly these days. I never, ever publicise my address or phone number there or anywhere else online. I don’t say if I’m going to be away – that’d just plain stupid. I rarely mention my husband unless it’s on a friends-lock post and to someone who knows him, as he has the right to his privacy. He doesn’t use the site himself, so why should I put him there, myself?

    But the whole thing of sharing oneself online, even though I’ve used various forms of social networking on the ‘net since about 2003 or 4, has never really been ‘me’. I am of the so-called ‘Boomer’ generation and despite having been a bit of a hippy in my youth, I never got on terribly well with sharing things even then, I’ve always been a loner and a very private individual. I do understand how it is for Millennials who have had the internet through most of their growing years, and for the generations coming up after them, a lot of this stuff is natural for them, but much less so for me. That said – I use the ‘net most days, for much longer than is healthy, and have survived…

    As for sharing through blogging… my current blog is very focussed which helps me to not overshare, but the first blog I had – back in ’04, I talked about far too much, and I had a horrible time of it. Thankfully that was with a pen-name!

    Your writing is so good, Mabel – really well thought out and carefully executed.

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    • That is something new to me. I didn’t know it was easy to remove watermarks from the bottom of digital images. I always presumed that the only way to remove a watermark over an image is to crop it out 😦 True, screen-shotting is always available at the tap of the keyboard – and your work can be out there forever. Also think you are right on those who want to steal your work, they will just do it anyway. To them, perhaps they don’t know copyright laws or they do and they just do not care.

      ‘He doesn’t use the site himself, so why should I put him there, myself?’ You bring up such a good point. Not everyone uses Facebook or social media, and it could be a conscious choice not to. They probably just don’t want their information out there online and they have a right to that. You are very respectful towards your partner for rarely mentioning him online.

      We all use the Internet differently. I’m definitely from another generation from you, but I am like you: I have never been comfortable sharing online. How much we share online can depend on your personality, and it’s lovely that you recognise that. Still, you have managed to use the internet to your liking to create and share some of your work 😊 I’m sure your blog way back then in 2004 was at least engaging in some aspects, and since you remember it, it must be quite memorable 😀

      Thank you so much for the encouragement, Val. I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog. Never knew your kind of art existed and hopefully I can stop by again soon and learn more about it 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  15. very good post. lots to think about here. I know someone who does a travel blog (RV traveling) and she posts about places about two or three days after she leaves them because she travels alone.

    Like

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