When we look into many people’s profiles on social media, we could read their lives like an open book: their preferences, their habits, their friends, what makes them happy, what makes them angry, how they feel about a particular subject, where they spend their vacations…etc. The issue in my opinion is not the amount of data people share (if you’re happy to share your life with the world, that’s a personal choice!). But what’s dangerous in my opinion is the fact that many people are unaware of what’s being done with their data “behind the scenes”!
Before having full access to any social media account, you have to agree to some “Terms of service” that act as legal agreement between you and the social media company. Most people don’t even read them and rapidly click on the “I agree “ button to be able to use the service. By accepting the terms of service, you give to social media companies the right touse all content you post, things you share and things you don’t even realize you’re sharing. Every piece of information about you is precious for such companies: your gender, your age, your language, your location, your likes..to mention only few. Even if you think you are smart and want to lie about some of this information, there is a good chance that Artificial Intelligence algorithms automatically correct this information “behind the scenes”. An example of this is the following: If the Artificial Intelligence algorithm identifies that most people who like horror movies are aged between 25 and 35 while you’re declaring you have 60, there is good chance that the algorithm labels you as “liar” and automatically corrects your age. With Artificial Intelligence, you lose the right to lie.
So, why all your data is that important? The answer is simple: You think you’re using a product or service, while you are yourself the product! For such companies, you’re an opportunity to make money and increase their business. To be more explicit, if you chat with your friend about a particular brand you like, don’t be surprised if you receive advertisements of that exact brand with a nice discount soon after. What’s interesting is that even if you don’t post anything, you’re still a commodity: the time you spend on social media is valuable information for social media companies. It gives indication on behavioral patterns that could be sold to third party companies.
The other dangerous aspect to which I want to raise awareness is the fact that people are starting to measure their personal “potential” through social media statistics (number of followers, number of likes, etc). Conclusions like :”I didn’t receive many likes on some content I shared, then it must be bad” are easily made. Self judgment and self satisfaction are tending to become more deteriorated. Social media have unfortunately made what other people think about us more important than what we think we truly are!
Be happy with who you are.
Wear your preferred jacket which others comment as awful and be happy with that.
Don’t care if that influence on social media seems perfect (he or she’s not, ABSOLUTELY not!).
Don’t connect unless it’s necessary and don’t share unless it’s valuable (for you and for the others).
Think of relationships rather than networking.
Think of hugging your relative or friend in real instead of sending an emoji.
You can only make people around you happy if you’re happy yourself.
Think of living experiences instead of watching them!