What did you have for lunch today?
Oh, never mind. I saw the picture of the two chili dogs, fries and a milkshake that made me very envious. Aren’t you on a diet?
How was work?
Oh never mind. I saw that post about your boss. Is he really that clueless?
Sound familiar? A conversation like that is pretty much a way of life now as we share every intimate moment of our existence with our friends, family and people we don’t even know via Facebook, Twitter and whatever flavor-of-the-month social media site is popular today.
If you go through your Facebook newsfeed you may not be surprised by what you see your friends posting. I’m usually not. But there are times when I question their sanity, and my own, when I come across something that makes me wonder if I really know them as well as I thought I did.
I tend to ignore the political rants. I shy away from images that are designed to make me stop eating meat and switch to an all grass diet. I enjoy food porn. I’m tired of cat pictures. I want to see more dogs and less kids.
While we’re busy sharing, others are busy looking.
When I meet someone, whether it be for business or personal reasons, if I’m sober enough to remember their name I’ll go and Google them the next day to learn more about them. We all leave a digital footprint, so information about any one of us is pretty easy to find.
But is the information we so freely share with friends and strangers really stuff we want out there? For example, if I’m friends with my boss on Facebook, is it really a good idea to post how much I hate my job?
If I work a respectable job and am well-known in the community, should I have allowed by buddy to post the photo of me looking a tad bit woozy from one-to-many boilermakers?
I have one friend who really doesn’t care. “I’m an open book,” he says when I comment about some of the things he posts on Facebook.
I’m an open book too, but the book isn’t titled “Train-wreck.”
Maybe that was a little harsh.
Social media is a great way to share the fun things in life with your friends and followers, but we always need to be keenly aware that our postings can often times influence things we may never have considered.
One of the questions I would always be asked when I spoke to a group of students was, “do employers really look up job applicants on Facebook?” When I would say, “of course” many would look at me with a dismayed look on their face.
My advice? If you have stuff on there that you wouldn’t want your mother to see, chances are it shouldn’t be there or if you must have it to be cool, change your privacy settings so your activity is only viewable by your friends who think it’s totally awesome that you got a new bong for your birthday.
While we’re all concerned about how the government is using our cell phone and internet activity records, the greater threat to our privacy is with the friends we have within our social networks. That picture of you passed out in your dorm room from five years ago, just may come back to haunt you!
If I sound like your mother in today’s post, share my post with your kids. It will save you from lecturing to them and I may pick up another follower. If you want to see what I had for lunch and what I look like half-naked wrapped up in a bear skin rug, you can follow me on Facebook, after all – “I’m an open book.”