What a Social Network Says About You

About eight years ago, I was on vacation with my family when a couple of my friends were uploading pictures of me onto Facebook after spending the entire summer together at camp. I couldn’t view these pictures because I didn’t have an account, so I asked my parents if I could sign up and promised them I would be careful online. That night when they gave me their approval, my life changed forever.

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Facebook, one of the most used social media platforms around the world, has made incredible advancements since it first launched in 2004. I didn’t know that at just twelve years old, I would be exposing myself in ways I didn’t think were possible for the rest of my life. I was always told that whatever I put online would stay there forever even if I deleted it, and I just started believing that statement now thanks to learning about how none of our information we type in online is ever really private, even if we think it is.

Researchers, scientists, and computer geniuses can dig up private conversations, your address, your family, your interests, places you’ve been, and more out of a computer, especially on Facebook. Yet, every account holder continues to post their personal information daily. Why? Because social networks are a way to connect with new and old friends and family, whether it’s from across the world or across the hallway. It’s a way to stay updated without asking any questions– therefore, it’s a convenient and entertaining form of communication.

When I post pictures of myself with those who I associate with, I am always cautious but never embarrassed of my pictures. However, the other day I was using a taxi app on my iPhone and I saw that my Facebook profile picture was on this stranger’s phone so that he could identify me when I got into the car. I thought this was really creepy because that’s how easy it is to access anyone’s information without them even knowing. In class, we watched a video that took place in Brussels where people were taken into a tent to have a professional tell them their life story. Of course, these people were in shock when the guy was gettting all the information right, until a curtain unfolded and they saw all of their information from Facebook pulled up on a screen. If that was me, I would feel scared, surprised, invaded, and victimized. It’s crazy to think that this can happen to anyone, anywhere, at anytime.

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Even though awareness can be raised that our lives are no longer private once we put them on social networks, we will never not use social media. Today, so many people are dependent on it for entertainment while they’re in the bathroom, waiting on line, and even avoiding face-to-face conversations that we can’t escape this virtual reality.

Overall, I love Facebook and every other social network for that matter. Although it has its flaws such as privacy invasion, they have helped me maintain long distance relationships and stay updated with current events around the world. Thanks Mom and Dad for trusting me on the Internet and allowing me to make a Facebook account, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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