Observation 101: When Social Networking Gets Sinister

For most of us, the term ‘social network‘ means nothing more than the place where you spread the word about your latest article or the place where you connect with someone who could be useful if they were apart of your network of contacts. To the rest, the term ‘social networking‘ means extended family, cyber rants, self gratification, self loafing, the pursuit of praise and constant attention seeking. Everyone is guilty of at least one, everyone who has ever setup a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr account. I guess we’re all vying for a piece of attention, we’re all trying to shout over the next person to get our ten seconds of recognition, we’re all trying to get you to ascribe and connect with our way of thinking.

More likes, more reblogs, more comments equate to more recognition, more praise, more ‘web’ time but what happens when it gets sinister, what happens when you’ve posted so much pics of yourself, you’ve location tagged ever status update and tweet and let the world know your deepest and darkest thoughts?
What happens when seemingly out of nowhere, someone in your friends/follower/fan/subscriber list becomes your stalker, what happens when you think you’ve met the perfect person as they seem to be a totally compatible match when all they’ve done is study your social networking patterns?

All of this ‘user generated content‘ is a double edged sword because not everyone has the best intentions. Someone you’ve never met can know everything about you in a few clicks, someone with sinister intentions can know what makes you tick in an instant to work their way around you because they know what you’re interested in, what you like, what sort of people you associate with, where you’ve been and what you look like.

I find the prospect of these encounters quite frightening so I try to keep myself detached. You never know what I’m thinking, you hardly know what I’m into, you wouldn’t know who I associate with and what they look like, you can’t see me because there’s next to none floating about for you to see and notice me when I’m out and about.
I feel that whilst the interweb can be totally innocent with folks sharing information about themselves and often using it as a substitute for physical interaction, I also feel that it’s never great to reveal yourself in great depth because there are a lot of unsavoury and sinister folk with less than decent intentions who can use the information you disclose so trivially against you.

Be wise, be safe and be careful because there’s more to life than numbers and statistics that mean nothing outside of your IP connection…



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