Although I don’t particularly remember the date I started using social media, I can tell you that my first contact with social media was with MSN messenger. Anyone and everyone in our generation used MSN messenger and their main form of online communication (simpler times). At that era the internet was still a somewhat tame beast- its potential still being unraveled, ideas bounced around, privacy was still not an issue. Up until then, privacy setting were simple, you put your username (Raider666…Don’t you dare judge me!), email, and created a password. Friends were added through manually typing in their email addresses (like cavemen) and no strangers were involved in your day to day online experience. Then one day, a friend introduced me to Friendster. Nobody could have prepared me for the psychological egocentric train ride that was Friendster. The first BIG thing of its kind to have reshaped our perception of social media that blew up on a global scale. Suddenly friends were pitted against other friends, how many friends do you have? Who are your top 10 friends? who are your hottest friends? Nobody could prepare you for such a wave of pride and ego because nobody before you has ever experienced douchebag-ness at this level. Douchebag- ness that you were very well apart of. When you thought you were at the height of all that is social media….. MySpace arrived, Then MSN fought back with their new version of front page social media (or at least struggled to), then….. Facebook. The be all and end all of social media arrived. Each and every one of its predecessors offering more mediums of communication until Facebook provided them all; from pictures, to text, to video. Now you could know when someone has won the election seconds after it was announced, now you could know exactly what everyone was eating and what they looked like while they were eating it, now you had front row seats to when a friend with no boundaries announces his massive dump is proving hard to launch. Information was freely given to fill up our facebook pages, from our age, our gender, relationship status, sexual preference, where we went to school, where we work, the list goes on and on. Then overnight, privacy was an issue, with so much personal information floating around it only took one angry child to realize he/ she could use all of this to his/ her advantage. In an equally large wave that social media rode in on, people were getting blackmailed, bullied, taunted, sexually harassed, and stalked, privacy was indeed an issue. We want everyone to know what we are doing but not certain people, a double edged sword social media has become. Only now have people been paying attention to what they put into social media. Can we have privacy if we use social media? Plainly and simply, Yes. It just takes effort, effort that the internet was there to eliminate in the first place. But if we take time to read the terms and conditions of the use of social media, and actively go through our settings to ensure the right people see it whilst others don’t, then no foreseeable problems will arise. Worst comes to worst, DON’T PUT PRIVATE INFORMATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
– Jian. Chan