Updated: Jun 15, 2020
With access to just about anything at our fingertips, its easy to fall victim to oversharing. Social sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow us to post photos and our location in a matter of seconds along with a catchy caption in hopes of gaining more likes and followers. When used properly, social media can be a useful tool to keep in contact with distant relatives and friends, or to grow your network. However too often I've learned way too much about acquaintances, seen private relationships turn into public scandals, and even watched hatred turn into suicide all from scrolling down my timeline.
Privacy is the act of keeping information to oneself or within a limited spectrum of ears. In my opinion, things like your location, your young children and workplace should be kept private and away from the public eye for the safety of you and those around you. Yet it's so easy to take a photo on a park bench and tag "Washington Park" for all of your hundreds (or thousands) of followers to see. While we like to think we personally know every follower we have, the reality is people are not always who you think they are. While your high school friend from AP Statistics may have been cool a decade ago, who knows where his mind is now.
If you have any form of social media - from LinkedIn to SnapChat - it's important to monitor what you post, especially if your page is public. Believe it or not, companies search social sites for candidate profiles before they interview to get an idea of your behavior and background. Imagine walking into an interview for your dream job, meanwhile the interviewer can't stop thinking of the thirst trap picture they found on your Instagram.
Always remember these social sites are public domain, even if your profile is private. The information and photos you post belong to the site and never go away - ever. There are often very scary details and parameters in the "Terms and Agreements" we all scroll through quickly without reading just to gain access to the platform.
Another benefit of privacy is peace. There are lots of snakes in the grass, some of which are much closer than they appear. Everyone around you doesn't necessarily want you to succeed. Hopefully, you have goals - keep them to yourself as you work with a professional, like me, to achieve them. Once you start knocking them off the list, you should absolutely share your accomplishments, but there is no need to document the process along the way. If you do, be prepared for a criticism and negativity from naysayers.
Its so easy to fall into the trap of trust with big name companies like Google and PayPal, but honestly these platforms are not great at protecting your information. Google your name, your mother's name, and other close relatives. Try transactions using Bitcoin instead of PayPal for a more secure, encrypted platform that is much more difficult to hack and trace. If you truly want to protect your name, social security number, bank account number and more, do the research and start switching to secure, encrypted apps and transactions instead of those that are mainstream.