Just recently, 14-year-old Sonia Bokhari wrote for Fast Company ruminating about her first experiences with social media.
Unlike her friends and classmates, she wasn’t allowed by her family to use social media until she turned 13. When she finally joined the platform, she was surprised to find out that she has been on social media the entire time — through the posts her mother and sister made about her.
Even when the posts had good intentions — her family documenting the joys of her childhood — Bokhari still felt betrayed and violated in terms of her privacy.
What’s Wrong with How We’re Using Social Media?
Indeed, social media has been so ingrained in everyone’s lives, it’s quite a far possibility for the world to be away with it now.
Essentially, it’s where you get to communicate with your loved ones, stay updated with the happenings in their lives, and even meet and interact with new people. Now, it has evolved into a source of information, a crucial element for marketing strategies, a platform for online businesses, and many others.
However, as much as social media is beneficial, it is also puts you in a disadvantage — or worse, danger. But that all depends on how you’re using it.
Here are some ways you’re using social media wrong.
1. Sharing your personal information
Before tapping that Publish button, you may want to rethink what you put in your posts, especially if they contain your sensitive information. Things like your location, your bank account number, your full name, and other security information come to mind.
Many incidents of hacking and security breaches have occurred the past years, and your favorite social media networks are not invincible. Guard your personal information before you fall victim to these incidents.
After all, prevention is better than cure.
2. Posting about others without their consent
This is the main concern of Bokhari upon discovering her social media “presence”, even when during the time when she hadn’t used social media yet: her family posted about her online without her permission.
The same goes for everyone. You wouldn’t want for other people to find out something about you if you didn’t consent to it, would you? So why should you do that to others?
One example is posting photos of people you don’t know. Yes, they may have sat down funny in public transportation or may have done a good deed to a homeless person, and you want to share that to your network. But question is, will those people involved appreciate that?
You may not appreciate it if it happens to you. There’s a fat chance others will feel the same.
3. Sharing content without credit to their owners
Ever see an artwork or photo being posted on social media with the caption “Credits to the owner” or “CTTO”? Yes, they’re everywhere, and many creatives have been protesting about it.
Every post made on social media may already be for public consumption, but it definitely matters if you credit whoever owns what you’re sharing. It’s just like citing your sources and references in the essays you write in school. If you don’t do so, it implies that you own the content — which you don’t.
Besides, the owner of every content you share exerted their efforts in making that. Some even earn money from it. When we don’t make measures in acknowledging them (no, adding “CTTO” does not count), we don’t just disregard their hard work. We rob them of the opportunity to make a living.
4. Replacing in-person connections
Yes, social media has allowed us to connect with people that matter to us despite the distance. But in the end, nothing beats personal interaction.
Don’t just drop a birthday greeting on your friend’s timeline — give them a special gift. Don’t just profess in a long post how much you love your significant other — show it in your personal actions.
This also goes to one of our favorite nooks and crannies in social media: the comments section. All the healthy discussions, petty arguments, and trashy trolling happen here. While it’s essential to talk about important issues (in a productive way, of course), doing it online does not bring as much impact as taking the discussion out from it. As someone said, “real battles are won offline.”
5. Letting social media define your life
Because social media is a place where you can post updates about your life, it is inevitable that you see the life updates of other people, too.
And boy, they can really bring out the green monster within you sometimes.
Take note, though, that the social media personas of the people you see online are just a curated version of who they are. All the bad parts have been filtered out, with only the glitzy, glamorous ones remaining for the websphere to see.
And admit it, you do this with your social media feed, too.
In the end, don’t let other people and their social feeds validate how good your life is. We all have everything bad and good going on in each of our lives. Just because it’s what you see online doesn’t mean it’s what’s happening behind the scenes.
Remember, social media is not real life. Don’t let it take over your reality.
Every part of this world has its boons and banes — that includes your beloved social media. Be conscious on how you make use of the platform, and in the end, it will do you more good than harm.