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Social Media, Privacy, and “Telephone”




The popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, >insert the latest fad here< has changed the way we interact with one another.  There is an expectation of instant and constant access to everyone we have ever met, interacted with, had that one chance encounter with, and even those that we consider closest to us.  There is that veil of anonymity and safety from behind the keyboard or touchscreen device.  The perception is that we can say and share more than we would in person.  Why is that the expectation now?

People who really know me know that I am an extremely private person.  If you are one of my inner circle, I share most everything with you but otherwise I keep my inner thoughts, dreams, feelings, and decisions close to the vest.  There are many opinions as to why that is; whatever your opinion on that, it is my personality.  I rarely make a decision that isn’t well thought out, researched, and debated.  The fact that it is not made public until it happens doesn’t mean that it was impulsive or rash.  It simply means that it was not for public consumption until that moment.  It should not be taken personally; I have no malicious or nefarious intent.  It has been said that timing is everything.  There are a lot of things that go on behind the curtain, so to speak, that not everyone is aware of.  Perhaps there was a holiday and/or a vacation and it was deemed inappropriate to share until after.  Maybe there is a job involved that requires specific timing.  There could be a million different reasons that have nothing to do with hurting someone else; in my case, it’s usually quite the opposite.

Internet privacy is something I believe everyone should take more seriously.  I have seen a post where a friend of a friend of a friend shared their cell phone number on their wall.  Because a friend of mine liked it, I saw the post and thus had the cell phone number of a complete stranger.  I don’t know for sure but I would posit that the original poster didn’t intend for me to have their number.  Obviously I just ignored it however someone with a malicious intent could have used it (and anything else on the profile).  Employers have started to require that prospective (and sometimes current) employees accept a friend request so they can review their social media profile.  Everything you post is there for posterity, just ask the college football players who got in trouble for a stupid picture taken in high school!

Our family chose not to use social media to share pictures of our kid.  Everyone should make their own choice about that however we all should respect whatever choice is made.  We don’t believe a bunch of strangers (friends of friends of friends of…) have any business seeing our kid; again our choice and yours may be different.  We really didn’t want those pictures to be used by the less moral side of the population.  This is not a reflection on anyone we know personally just that we don’t know everyone down the chain of social media; especially since people have public profiles for their businesses that are tied to their personal profiles.  It can be a wonderful marketing tool, just don’t need our kid exposed to the world along the way.

The children’s game of “telephone” where one kid tells another kid a story and it gets passed on and on until the last kid hears the story.  The story the final kid hears is nothing like the original story.  Every kid that passes it along does so with their own understanding, emotion, bias, and narrative.  My point?  Well, if you haven’t heard something from me or my husband directly, it likely isn’t the true story.  We all add our own twist to things we have heard.  That is human nature; we always project our own perception on everything we hear and say.  The original message might be “new and exciting opportunities” but the message heard down the line might be “different although there were likely other opportunities”.  If you want to know why something happened in our lives, please ask me or my husband.  In the meantime, we would appreciate it if less people played “telephone” with our choices!  It will save a lot of heartache and misunderstanding in the future. 😁


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