Dangerous Public Sharing on Interwebs: Relationships Matter

In the age of George Orwell’s imagination, social media has become an ubiquitous part of modern life. At it’s best, sites like Facebook foster connections not otherwise possible just a few years decade ago.   At it’s worst, social media is crowdsourcing manipulated opinions controlled by special interests.  Or maybe even worse – lets not get started on trolls.

This is all great, the new connections and relationships… now we know when an acquaintance has a personal event or second cousin has a birthday birthday… it makes us ‘closer’.  But, too often people don’t understand about the vast implications created with public posts.  In an age when credit bureaus regularly admit to serious data breaches, it’s amazing to see the growing number of personal social media posts that are public.

Facebook, Twitter and Social Media: Relationships Matter

It’s not only the content of the posts, but the individual relationships and interactions themselves that pose a danger.  Situations like a burglar arriving promptly …after seeing your latest post about surviving the latest natural disaster while on vacation, thousands of miles away.   Or maybe an unknown third party scraping public social media posts and compiling their own separate database — not subject to the platforms privacy policy and other terms of use. And public posts must be a stalkers dream. Posting public often means it’s viewable anonymously by the public. Unscrupulous actors with no regard who ‘owns’ the information can anonymously steal and do with it what they want, it’s public! 

Social Media Platforms Promote Lower Privacy

Worse yet, Facebook and other social media outlets have changed features in ways that make it easier – or default – to post public.  This is for a variety of reasons.  I suspect among the top is because they have a monetary interest in your information, and if it’s public, there is quite a bit more value.

What to do? 

Simple: Stop interacting with anything marked public.  It’s fine to read, but don’t LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE or respond to any public post. Why do you want someone outside your network – or even your extended network – to know your personal business, opinions, or relationships?

Long term, I hope there is an option on social media platforms to hide public content.  (Some options exist, but don’t preserve other special permissions that might be on some content – options available only allow to share everything to all friends.) I never interact with public posts, it sure would save a lot of time to filter public posts out.  I only want to see what other people feel is special enough to be private.  I’ve discovered apps that automatically remove political posts from Facebook feed, but I’ve yet to find something to hide all public posts.  

There are places for public posts.  Marketing. Sales. Customer Service.  Tech Support. Creating large databases of interactions can be helpful if proper search tools or AI is utilized… but generally, not the best place for personal, private posts.

If you’re someone who always posts publicly, by default… try limiting the audience.  While you may receive fewer interactions, you might receive more interactions from your connected friends.  There are many personal posts and conversations I wish I could participate in, but they’re public.

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Grown up in Cleveland, Ohio, USA., previously lived in Phoenix, Arizona and Tampa, Florida areas, and recently co-located to Asheville, North Carolina area. Trained as an Army MP, but bit of a renegade career wise. Phil has owned businesses in insurance, private investigations, surety bail bond industries, and has experience in computer network engineering, hospitality in-room advertising, asset recovery and repossession, and even a few years traveling most of the lower 48 states, Ontario and Northern Mexico as a commercial over the road truck driver. Career long entrepreneur, property investor and rental manager. Phil loves sharing his experiences of great food, travel, experiences and products.