Thursday, 10 January 2013

The dark side of social media

It’s not often I’m sat in front of the TV watching a programme that I’m REALLY interested in. My nights usually involve the soaps (Coronation Street and Eastenders FTW) then you’ll find me plugging my iPod in and digging out a magazine. Sometimes I’ll venture up to my room, put a few candles on and watch some Disney Classic movies with a nice mug of tea. My new favourite TV show is Mr Selfridge, which in fact I only wanted to watch because I’m a girl and of course I love anything to do with shopping. As a result in my obsession with Mr Selfridge, I realised I’m way too in love with Jeremy Piven. But I’ll save that for another time…

A programme called ‘Don’t Blame Facebook’ came on to my radar the other night so I decided to watch it. The whole concept of the programme was basically ‘be careful what you say/do online’. It featured people who had everything from prison sentences to job dismissals all because of what they said or did online. Everything you do and say on any social media site, such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and so on can have some form of consequence. Scary thought? I often worry about what I put online because everything and anything can be taken the wrong way. An innocent tweet can be misconstrued to something totally different and it really worries me sometimes. Something that can be a ‘joke’ in a real life situation can be misinterpreted to something completely different online.

I find it so much easier to talk to people and get my feelings across about something online than in real life. It’s always been that way since I was a teenager, when I first started on MySpace when I was 15. I always wanted to be ‘popular’ online and I soon gained around 1000 ‘friends’ on MySpace and around 5%, probably less in all fairness, I actually knew in real life. Fast forward to my adult life and a progression in social media and now I’m on most social media sites, Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and so on. I’m not going to lie to you all and say that gaining a new follower on Twitter or getting enough likes on a photo on Instagram so it says ’11 likes’ rather than list the people who like it, doesn’t make me feel a little bit happy. Facebook is for my ‘real life’ friends and I don’t even list where I work, although the majority do know where I work. I’m just worried that if I list where  I work, it will affiliate myself with the company and although I never say anything negative about work, I just worry anything I say could be picked up on. Twitter is for my ‘internet friends’ and I feel so much more comfortable saying how I feel about things because I don’t really feel like I’ll be judged on Twitter whereas I will on Facebook because I might say I’m sad one day on Facebook then the next day I have people I work with asking me about it. I’ve had my fair share of mistakes I’ve made online and I’ve learnt so much about how social media works and the disadvantages of it sometimes.

A few weeks ago I found a photo on Facebook that someone had liked. Now, whenever you like a link, photo etc on Facebook, it brings it up on your feed. The photo showed a teen girl and boy having a little 'personal time'. It was pretty weird because a random guy at the side was posing next to them as if to say ‘hey, I just crashed their sexy time, let’s document this monumental moment!’ The girl looked pretty devastated and the guy she was having 'personal time' with looked pretty pleased with himself (think thumbs up here). I read through some of the comments the picture received and it varied between saying the girl was a slut and a whore, some people were saying they’re doing a completely normal act. But through all this hate and praise the image received, I felt really sick and sorry for the people in the image. That image is now floating around Facebook and probably other social media sites for all to see. I’d be devastated if it was me. So it’s pretty obvious to warn you, but NO NUDE PHOTOS. Even photos sent on phones can easily be uploaded by your boyfriend, sent to friends to impress them or whatever, then they send them to their friends, and the next minute your nude private photos are all over the internet.

I’m really cautious of what I put content I put on my blog. It’s really strange really because I write down feelings, what I like, what I hate, even what beauty products I like to slap on my face (not literally!) but I like to keep some content private. Obvious details such as mobile phone numbers, addresses, exact areas you live etc needs to be kept private. I’ve posted the odd photo of my brother on my blog but I like to keep personal holiday photos and similar content private. At the end of the day your blog, including mine, isn’t just viewable (unless you set it to private and invitees only) by your followers, it is a website that can be viewed by millions of people from different countries. Uber scary thought when you think of it in that way. This means it’s so important to keep some details private. It’s ok to tweet that you’re going to Starbucks but try not to tweet the exact Starbz you’re going to.

Without wanting to sound patronising or rambling on and on, the moral of the story is to be careful what you say and do online. As well as being a negative sometimes, social media can be an absolute babe sometimes. I can find anything out from where my lost parcel is via a company’s Twitter account to who is going out with who.  Great! But it can also lead to criminal charges, dismissals from work and other gut-wrenching thoughts. My motto is to keep blogging/tweeting/typing/instagramming/tumblring/pinning/youtubing, but create yourself your own personal line that you know not to cross and stick to it. Happy social media-ering!*

*I totally made that word up by the way

Let me know if you’ve ever had issues or situations when social media has gone wrong for you! I’d love to hear what you think of this post, I’m hoping it makes people think about what they post online.
FIND ME ON: Twitter |  Instagram: @katiebearx


  1. I closed my facebook account down last year after an ex did a bit of hacking into it, which really upset me at the time. I don't miss it at all.
    I have my blog, which I try to keep to the topics I would like to speak about, and twitter, where I connect with lots of other bloggers and the majority of them are people I have never / probably will never meet.
    Although it's only recently that it's made the media, I have always been a firm believer that if you wouldn't be happy writing something down and publishing it (in a newspaper etc), you shouldn't consider typing it on your FB / blog / Twitter / whatever status. If you say something (and by 'say' I also include 'type' here) you are responsible for it, and if it's defamatory etc, you should be held responsible for that - I don't see how anyone could think otherwise.
    I'd hope that everyone thought like that, but I guess from the amount of instances where people have lost jobs, friends, etc as a result of the things they've posted on FB, perhaps they don't. I also think it's weird that so many people are friends with work colleagues, bosses, parents etc on there, and then wonder about the kind of content they post (eg. the nude photos thing you mentioned - how embarrassing!) By posting a status, it's just a quicker way of texting this information to everyone you're friends with on there, as they can all see it, so why would someone do that if it's to say something which could have a detrimental effect on their life, job, relationship etc?
    Argh! Sorry, that became a bit of a rant.

  2. I don't even bother with Facebook or Twitter. Facebook really annoyed me when they reactivated my account out of the blue without any authorisation for me, so I just don't feel that I can trust them. Plus, I'm such a private person! I'm not worried about any of the content I upload to my blog, because I don't feel it could offend any one in the slightest. I try and be fairly professional about it, and that's something which is so important to me as it contains all of my artwork. As for Twitter, it seems to have got some bad press lately, due to a group of moronic people. My main problem with some of these sites is their ability to really infringe on some people's privacy, once a photo is on the net, well there's not much you can really do about it to be honest. I love the concept behind this post, and I definitely think people need to exercise a little bit of caution!
    Sorry for my wall of text - didn't intend to write to much!

  3. This whole social media aspect does quite scare me! First of all you don't know who is reading your blog unless they have their blog link on their blogger profile, second of all as you have said everything you say can be taken the wrong way and people might think you are a horrible person just because you had a bad day at work and decided to share your feelings. Also social media websites have now become a "like" contest(kxmfacebookkxm) or a "followers" war. What I despise the most though is that through the amount of likes your social status is immedietly conveyed and I find irritating how some people insist that the amount of followers you have on your blog determines how good your blog is! Anyway social media websites or social media in general can be quite stressful but to be honest I wouldn't delete my facebook or my blog because at the end of the day I love interacting with different people and try to be careful with what I post! This was such a great post btw! It's nice that a blogger addressed this issue :)x

  4. I saw that programme too. I never really thought that much about what I put online before, really makes you think. Great post, you're the first blogger I've seen write about it.

    - Sho x

  5. This is such a great post! :)

  6. i love this post!