Tuesday, 1 May 2018

The Perils of Social Media

It is known fact that Man is a social animal. Living in close knit communities and interacting with others and forging a close bond are the traits of human society. In the past the interacting with friends and family across long distances has been a concern but by primitive yet innovative and creative means since ancient times man has always managed to communicate over distances to strengthen their relationships.

IN the modern age, the emergence of handy social media tools started first with the recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, in 1997. It allowed users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. By the year 1999, the first blogging sites became popular and since then over the years people have flocked to social media sites for communication and sharing and entertainment. Emergence of MySpace, LinkediN, Orbit, Facebook, Photobucket, Flickr, You Tube, Twitter,Tumblr, Spotify, Pinterrest,  Whatsapp all paved the way for exciting life on the social media. Today both business and personal life thrive on social media. Majority of the world population uses social media on regular basis sharing their life and information with the virtual world at every opportunity.

The internet is not a very secure place, inspite of all the security measures. Nor is it a very private place. We feel what we are posting or sharing is secure and private but that is really often an illusion. Often we share too much of our self on the social media, often we post very personal information or moments, often people accept virtual friends without really knowing the person and fall prey to the dangers. The hackers on the internet often break the security measures.  The apps you use or games you play may have been equipped to record your keystrokes, every photo you upload is archived. The recent case of data exploitation, exposure and pilferage by organizations such as Cambridge Analytica is proof of the dangers that lie in this age of life on social media. The extensive grilling of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg by American senators has been shared on all platform. One can deactivate a Facebook account or other social media account but not really delete it. Facebook always maintains a copy of your deactivated account and it will always be there and hackers love to hack inactive accounts.

The Children are particularly vulnerable on the virtual world. That is why along with Parental Control there is a need to use the built-in firewalls on the routers to block out specific websites from the children.  There are enough cases of bullying via social media from the circle of ever growing FB friends of children. Bullying is no longer confined to schools, it continues via social media.

How one behaves on the social media has a far greater impact on other areas of life. Today employers often base their hiring on the impression they get about a candidate based on his/her social media behaviour and preferences as it reveals the traits of a person. If a person is seen to project undesirable behaviour the employers often reject the candidate at the outset. That apart background check is becoming mandatory everywhere.

All the above is not to say that we should refrain from using the internet or stay away from social media. Frankly in today’s world shunning the social media completely is not possible. However it would be wise to curb and control what we post on the Internet. This means that the social media has invaded into every area of our life today and the level of personal privacy we can safeguard is always challenged. It is necessary to remember that our information and posts actually gets exposed and even shared or stolen in a virtual world full of hundreds of thousands of people who may not all have the honest intention. We should therefore be cautious and judicious when we are posting on the social media and ensure that we do not post anything that we may not be comfortable sharing.

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