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 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… but… too often people are loosing sight, or simply don’t know, about the vast implications created with public posts. In an age when credit bureaus regularly admit to serious data breaches that could have lifelong impacts, it’s amazing to see the growing number of personal social media posts that are public.
Worse yet, Facebook and other social media outlets have changed their 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. Why do you want someone outside of your network – or even your extended network of friends friends – to know your personal business, opinions, or relationships?
Long term, I hope there is an option on social media platforms to hide public content. I nearly always only interact with non-public posts, it sure would save a lot of time to filter public posts out. 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.