Think before you post


(Part 1 of 2)

  “Social media should improve your life, NOT become your life!” – Patrick Driessen

FOR good or ill, advances in communication technology have reshaped our lives drastically far more than we can imagine a decade or so ago. We email, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram and think nothing of it. We write comments and post photos and videos for our friends, friends of friends or for all the world to see. Posts can go viral, depending on the public’s whim or appetite for cute things or those with shock value.

If we don’t watch it, we could be buried in this avalanche of information, sights and sounds available electronically right at our fingertips 24/7. It is an amazing phenomenon defying space and time constraints, the cumulative, social effects of which, we still have to evaluate in hindsight.

A few words to the wise: PROCEED WITH CAUTION. Much of cyberbia is uncharted territory. It’s a jungle out there.

Corporations who trade in bits and bytes milk the web for information that can advance their corporate goals, that is to say, their profit and loss statements. Scammers of every nationality and persuasion holed out in their rooms or in cyber cafes are out in full force still making fools of the greedy lot who still believe in something for nothing. Identity thieves troll social network sites to get information about birthdays, addresses and such relevant information from which they can put together and extrapolate your SSN and assume your identity. That number is a key that can open financial doors for the ill intentioned. Consider yourself warned.

So much is already out there in the public records and on Google and Google Maps complete with street views. You can view mug shots of those with arrest records and for a few bucks more, cull out the details.

I am guessing that in the future, when it finally dawns on us that OBSCURITY is a blessing and CELEBRITY, a curse, there will be a market for Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloaks to shield us from all this unwanted intrusion into our private lives.

We are all vulnerable to determined privacy intruders. Tweak or fine-tune your privacy settings to limit your exposure. Refrain from signaling your intention when going on vacation so thieves don’t ransack your home. Alas and alack! The world may have become your stage but not everyone is rootin’ for you.

The rules for social networking are still being drawn but a few, yet-to-be-written guidelines have congealed just in the last few years and have become quite apparent and definitely bears repeating and amplifying. Do take heed.

Your postings at all social networking sites define who you are and delineate your character to the world. Your thoughts, your ideas and comments, your images, even your choice of words give an insight to your personality and character traits. They reflect your values, give a hint of your weaknesses and vulnerabilities and can be a measure of the size of your ego. Taken altogether, they paint a composite picture of you, either flattering or not.

Even the amount of time you spend on online games is a sliver of insight into your interests and how you spend your free time. It may be indicative of whether you are near the brink of obsessive-compulsive behavior or a candidate for the nuthouse.

Unfair? Of course it is.  It is a flat and one-dimensional picture of who you are. You are a far more complex person than what your Facebook and Twitter postings give you credit for. But based on available information that you yourself provided, that’s how you want the people that orbit in your universe see you. Take heed from a phrase that police officers read to suspects, “ … Anything you say (and in social networking, what you post) can and will be taken against you…”

(To be continued…)

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Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP of Asian Journal Publications, Inc. To send comments, e-mail monette.maglaya@asianjournalinc.com

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