Threats to the Online Self

Social media seems to have prompted many individuals to redefine “privacy”. Nowadays, people share more of themselves through self-disclosure in various social media platforms. It’s different offline, though. People are value their privacy more as disclosure is done with only a few, selected people.
The extent to which people are “private” online has a lot of implications. As we try to build relationships and share more about ourselves, we may also be making ourselves vulnerable.

Online self-disclosure

Self-disclosure: Online vs. Online


Allowing other people to learn more about ourselves, and being allowed to learn more about others is an online activity which we enjoy, and benefit from. This then makes self-disclosure a must for users of social media platforms.
Self-disclosure through status messages, tweets, and photos is perhaps a part of our conscious effort to shape how other people view us. And probably, for some, it’s a way to project more of their ideal self. The latter is another issue on the inconsistency on how people behave online and offline. A more important issue, however, is how a lot of individuals who are quite private offline have gone public online.

 

Not entirely safe
While self-disclosure seems to be a must-do for everyone who is online, precaution, and some reservations are still very much needed. An individual’s online behavior and activities can put him or her at risk. Everything that is posted online, harmless for the individual as they may appear at first, may actually be used against him or her. As in the offline world, some people online are not always with good intentions. Individuals can help themselves from being victimized by cybercrimes. Regulating self-disclosure is Step 1.

 

Control
It is quite important for users to think first whether they are totally okay with sharing personal information and photos in their accounts. And of course, tinkering with the privacy or security settings of one’s accounts will be quite helpful.
It is the users of social media platforms who can guarantee their own safety in the online world as they can be in control of the information shared and their accounts.

 

Photo retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/nathantwright/youth-communication-and-privacy-in-the-social-media-age.

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About Alyssa B
The Composer, Alyssa Batu, is a senior Organizational Communication student at the University of the Philippines Manila. “What is OrCom all about?” has been the most frequently asked [and answered] question for her since 2008. Three years have passed and she continues to discover answers to that question. Alyssa occasionally procrastinates (‘occasionally’ here is relative, btw :p ) because she either spent too much time with Detective Conan or baking.

3 Responses to Threats to the Online Self

  1. achijackie says:

    Not only has the digital world redefined “privacy,” it has also set a new culture and standard to online ethics (what is perceived as the right or wrong thing to do). Some call it “netiquette” and some call it “responsible digital citizenship.” This is also a topic of interest so I’ll be writing about it too. 🙂

    • Alyssa B says:

      Hi, Jackie! 🙂
      People’s behavior online is indeed very interesting. I remember encountering the concept of online anonymity particularly in the context of cyber stalking. The concept of anonymity very much influences how people behave or misbehave online. Some people then still do what they recognize as something wrong because they think that there are chances of them remaining anonymous and not being held accountable.

  2. Social media has indeed allowed its users to disclose information as much (and as often) as they want to. And it is scary when some people use these online data to take advantage of others or worse, harm them. People should really be mindful of the things they share and post online.

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