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How much influence do we have?

I use social media on a daily basis for my private and for my work life! Thus, I know a lot about the dangers of social media and how I can protect myself from them. I know that I have to check my facebook settings once a week because you never know which new feature facebook has set up and enabled for my profile automatically. I also inform myself regularly about new tools companies can use to spy on people through their social media profiles. I have protected all my accounts so that they are not visible to anyone who is not my friend. Additionally, I think about every post on Facebook before I post it and think if it could be embarrassing for me to anyone outside my general group of friends. I never accept friend requests of people I don’t know because I am using social networks only to stay in touch with my friends who I do know. Regarding personal information, I make sure that I do not post my date of birth, my address or phone number.

There are loads of things we can do to protect ourselves and it is our own responsibility to check that our settings are correct and it is also important that we post responsibly. If we make sure that these things are done, social networks are a great way for staying in contact with our friends especially when we travel or live further away.

One thing that is harder to control is what is posted about us. How do we know how much information is online about us that we have not put there? Can we even control all of this? A reason for me to be a member of different social networks is to check what is posted about me. Not participating in the minimum way means that we might miss out on what is being said or posted about us. People might upload pictures of us and make them visible to the general public without us even knowing about it. That is why I constantly google my name and see what comes up and try to check what is visible to everyone such as my family or a future employer.

But are we really able to see the full picture? Do we really know how often we appear online even though we check this regularly? The answer is no because the internet is too big for that. Google does not pick up everything and things that once have been posted might stay online even though we have deleted them. The internet does not forget and it can become hard to find the person who has posted something about us that we don’t like and make this person delete it permanently.

That is what scares me a bit! I can protect myself but who is protecting me from others? I am doing my very best but a 100% guarantee does not exist no matter if we use social media or not!

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