About two weeks ago, it was reported that Kim Kardashian West, the world’s highest paid reality television star, was held up at gunpoint in an exclusive Paris apartment in the early hours of Monday. According to dailymail.co.uk the robbers made off with her 20-carat Lorraine Schwartz engagement ring worth £3.5million and a case of jewellery with a value of £5.24million. Dailymail.co.uk also reported that a French police chief blamed Kim Kardashian for flashing her jewellery on social media as it made her easy pickings for thieves.
The Instagram posts in question has Kim announcing her location and later posting a photo showing herself wearing a massive diamond ring. Kardashian West told the police the robbers who only spoke French, kept yelling, “ring, ring.” Some people say she had this coming because of her incessant and reckless oversharing on social media. See figure 1 and 2.
There is this Ghanaian Stylist I follow on Snapchat who makes it a point to snap photos of the bundles of cash she is depositing at the bank the filled bank pay-in slipped with the amount of money being deposited is sometimes snapped. Follow her on Snapchat and you would get to know the name of her bank, her branch, her full name, her account number and the amount of monies she deposits! I have watched this peculiar Snap story a couple of times! Imagine what a criminal would do armed with all this information! See figure 3.
When ace broadcaster Komla Dumor passed away, Manasseh Azure posted about a message Komla sent to him on Facebook the evening before he died – the message he said, were “meant for his eyes only”. A few hours later, Manasseh was hacked and the private message made its way online! Below are the excerpts of the said post:
“Shortly before I left for work, I logged in to Facebook and there was a notification that I had received one message.
It was a message from Komla Dumor. Komla Dumor? What did he have for me this early morning? I had not interacted with him this year. I opened the message.
“Manasseh, I thought I should share this with you,” it started. “It’s for your eyes only,” he warned and went on.
Unfortunately, I cannot reproduce the main content of that message here because he said it was meant for my eyes only. I can only quote part of it in this piece.”
The popularity of reality TV may be blamed for a lot of us thinking it is ok for the world to view every sphere of our lives in painfully graphic detail. In some ways, we are all becoming Internet Reality Stars, we are leaving nothing to the imagination and we are baring it all to strangers we have never met. How many of your Facebook friends are actual friends? The word ‘friend’ has another definition in the world of Facebook; it can even include random strangers!
When I started using Facebook, I was only connecting with my friends, then I extended it to people I knew. It was always exciting to connect with old classmates and get the juice on where they had been and what they were up to. After a while I realized there were some people I knew who I didn’t know by their Facebook names and so the circle kept growing. Sometimes friend requests are accepted for the mere fact that you don’t want to seem rude or stuck-up right? And so the circle grows. You have to note that the level of privacy and security decreases along with your 5000 friends and 2000 followers!
I believe social media has in its very core a call to overshare. Log in to Facebook and the first thing you see is “What’s on your mind? Instagram beckons you to share your story whilst Snapchat pulls you into taking a picture before you proceed to any other thing. And when you are having a great time, you want to share it with the world. But do you have to share everything that is happening in your life in real time on social media?
Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media platform, here are three things you should never reveal, even if your account is private.
- Details of your upcoming vacation – it is fun and exciting to take a trip to a wonderful destination. But be wary of putting up information about upcoming trips on your social media accounts. Details like this on social media could sophisticated thieves to rob your home whilst you are gone. You can also fall prey to scams with information deduced from your posts.
- Photos of expensive items – Kim Kardashian West’s robbery is a lesson about the dangers of posting pictures of expensive items on social media. Do not inspire criminals to target you and your family. Children are not possessions however you should not but your priceless assets on display in the name of social media. I have seen people put up posts with details about their children’s schools.
- Financial information – You might not believe it but some people actually post pictures that show their credit cards. Obviously, criminals could take the numbers right off the pictures to steal from your account. Never mention on social media what bank you do business with either. There are so many things criminal minds can do when they know where you bank etc.
4 ways oversharing can harm your brand
Your personal and professional brand
As the ghosts of Twitter’s past continue to haunt Donald Trump we should be reminded that what we do on social media may often have long-term negative effects on our personal and professional lives. Some employers tend to comb through social media accounts of potential hires to search for any red flags. The CEO of Mansuki Ghana, Israella Mansu, speaking at a forum a few months ago stated that with regards to hiring employees who were a perfect fit for her customer service standards, she will scour through their social media pages to check their posts and see how they related to other people.
After getting into a tiff at work it is easy to rant on social media against that boss or colleague. Trashing your current employer however may signal to a future employer that they can suffer the same fate when you are upset.
“Think twice before speaking negatively about the workplace on any social media forum. Private settings on Facebook still don’t prevent a simple “copy and paste” from someone else, potentially landing you in hot water.” – Danica Leys http://www.agcareers.com/
Fast fingers, okro fingers
It is very easy to share your opinions on Social Media. In doing this you may throw caution to the wind and use words you would not have to courage to use where you to walk to someone in the street with the same opinion. It is easy to hide behind the screen of a computer, laptop and mobile device and display bravado but a good guiding principle is to conduct yourself on social media just as you would in a similar group and context in the real world. Be cautious when you are tempted to “speak your mind” on Social Media.
All about you
A little more digging into your Facebook timeline will tell others what kind of person you are – your likes and dislikes, your habits and hobbies, what you do during the day (or night) and more. Each Facebook timeline is a story about a person. The more you dig into the Timeline, the more facts you find about them. Add LinkedIn to the equation and your whole memoir out there!
Getting robbed is appalling, no matter what you did. However we should be cautious digital citizens. Whatever we do on Social Media, let us remember that we are leaving digital footprints of ourselves. Would you be proud if your grandchild so that picture you posted today? If you were contesting for the presidential seat, would that tweet come back and bite you in the butt? Are you jeopardizing your children’s safety by telling the whole world where there can be found at certain times of the day?
Answer the following questions to check if your level of social media sharing is unhealthy, (adapted from SmartSign’s digital detox quiz):
- Do people in your life complain about how much time you spend on your phone when you’re with them?
- Has your job/school performance suffered due to time spent using social media?
- When you wake up in the morning, is the first thing you reach for your smartphone?
- Is no meal complete without it being Instagrammed?
- Do you check your email or social network while using the restroom?
Do not let FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), the social anxiety caused by seeing events online (via Facebook photos, for example) that happened when you weren’t there carve out your lifestyle.
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