This is why you should share less on social media
Life seems to be dominated by social media: the perfect Insta-brunch, the well-crafted Facebook humblebrag, the witty Twitter put-down, the "oh-my-god-see-this" snapchat. We all know a chronic over-sharer - the person who posts so much you could probably create an accurate timeline of their bowel movements and would know what to buy their dad for Christmas.
But are we more guilty of it ourselves than we would like to admit? Without even thinking about it, we throw our personal details willy-nilly into apps that do everything from letting us flirt with strangers to bringing burgers to our door.
Hell, we even tell our smartphones about our periods and let other people read about it. If you listen to the cynics, we’re fast becoming a nation of narcissistic over-sharers, desperate to have our lives validated at every turn. But why does this matter? We're about to find out.
1. Because Facebook can basically do what it wants
Here’s the deal: although any content you post on Facebook is still yours and covered by (questionably subjective) fair use policies, anything you do put up is also Facebook’s. If they want to use it, they can - whether it’s your cat, your baby or the artsy cocktail shot you were so pleased with.
The same goes for Instagram, which can also license images from the site to third parties. While many brands do at least give credit where credit is due, others, including some major magazines, are notorious for forgoing this stipulation.
2. Because your future boss will probably look you up
That Ibiza throwback photo of a handsome Spanish man doing shots off of your stomach may seem funny now, but with up to 70 per cent of employers admitting that they check the social media accounts of potential employees, it may come to ruin your life even worse than the tequila did the next morning.
Bosses have cited drug references, bad mouthing your current employer, making derogatory comments about other people and revealing too much as being among their biggest turn-offs. So keep it clean, people!
3. Because anyone can share your stuff
Unless you’re a privacy ninja, the chances are that your security settings aren’t as high as they could be. That off-the-cuff comment you made in the heat of the moment might become viral if someone ever takes offence to it.
Think about what you post, and if you think it’s going to be particularly contentious then save it for one of those gif-riddled WhatsApp messages.
4. Because your ex is probably creeping on you
Sometimes, when you’ve agreed to "stay friends", the delete button seems a little too passive-aggressive. So instead, you keep each other on the friends list and both pretend you’re not doing what you definitely are: stalking. And don’t even pretend you haven’t done it.
But, do you really want them looking at your stuff, poring over your photos, analysing the new additions to your friends list? Save yourself the drama and keep that stuff to yourself until it’s cool again. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t still brag once in a while.
5. To protect your kids
Sure those baby photos are cute, and it’s good to be proud of them, but think about it: you would never stop a stranger in the street and tell them your kid’s name, where they go to school, when their birthday is, what they did this weekend and hand them a photo of them. Nor would you let them have their own account before an appropriate age.
But by detailing their every move, you’re already creating an online history for them long before they need one and sharing that info with everyone else - and if someone did that to you, you’d be mighty unimpressed.
6. Because you’re fooling no one
Gone are the days when a swift change of Facebook status to “in a relationship” was enough to tell the world that you were off the market and busy in the bedroom. Now, it’s either 30 photos a day, or nothing at all - pics or it didn’t happen, if you will.
But studies have shown that the happier the couple, the less they share about each other on social media; the more genuine the connection, the less you feel the need to have other people validate it. So put keep those kissing snaps to yourself, for everyone else's sake.
Despite how endemic social media over-sharing may seem when your newsfeed loads the 15th photo that day of someone you haven’t seen in 10 years, it does seem that people are starting to catch on. But we should continue to be diligent; after all, once it's out there, it's out there.