A few years ago I was having a fabulous holiday in Vietnam with my brother when all of a sudden it was ruined. Not because I got my bag stolen including my passport and credit cards like another holiday. And not because I twisted my ankle two days before going on a skiing trip as happened on another. This holiday went temporarily pear shaped because I logged onto a computer.
A friend had mentioned a photo had appeared of me somewhere online, and for some reason I thought I’d take a look. Big mistake! It wasn’t like it was a nude photo Prince Harry style or anything, nor was it me dancing on a table dressed as a policewoman, my life’s not that interesting; it was just a standard snap.
Unfortunately at that point in time, when I googled myself, my eyes went to a nasty little link slagging me off, and although I thought I was reasonably peaceful, my anxiety when right through the roof. And it stayed solid for at least 3 days. Holiday destroyed.
I worked out the hard way, and this is not the only time I’ve had to do so, but you have to be very careful of how you use a computer if you’re in any way in the public eye. And if you aren’t rock solid in terms of putting stranger’s opinions firmly in their place, you’re in danger of serious mental carnage.
I now believe that rather than running around looking for someone to sue, I need to be savvier about how I engage online.
Although I’m now not a googler of myself, I still use Face Book and Twitter, however I’m very aware of the risks and I’m also aware of the positives. The key is not to get caught up in it, and the bigger key is to not get caught up in YOU.
Last week I was approached by someone claiming that for an amount of cash I could buy as many Twitter followers as I wanted. I was told that it was normal practice in America that many celebrities are buying thousands of followers to make themselves look good.
Of course it is impressive to many if they look you up and you have thousands of followers, but for me, I’d rather know that the ones I have want to be there and that they are not bunch of people I’ve bought to false advertise myself.
I’ve blocked a bunch of people in the past as I’ve seen they’re from a certain organization whose job it is to report gossip and crap that I don’t want to be part of, and most recently I blocked some nut that was tweeting aggressive sexual comments to me and thankfully that was that.
But I could have kept them on for numbers and I could have fought back with replies, in the vain hope that they might turn into fans, but what for?
Twitter to me initially seemed like another time wasting operation until I discovered I could follow all sorts of interesting and inspirational people from all over the world. When I log on, I only see the comments and news from those I have chosen to follow because they share things that nurture me. And in turn, I have been followed by similar minded people from all parts of the globe and that’s been just wonderful.
At times I’ve found myself checking my account too often and then I’ve checked myself and reminded myself that I need to be living my life. Not trawling through what others are up to because as dumb as it sounds to non-Twitter uses, it can become addictive.
The biggest issue facing us in this new world of social media is that we can get too caught up in looking for external validation of our worth by how many people are following us and what they’re saying. If we place that sort of power into the hands of strangers, we are also clearing a path for them to shoot poisonous darts into our heads.
As kids our parents used to warn us of the danger of talking to strangers, and just because we’re adults now doesn’t mean we should forget it.
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON TACKLING THIS NEW UNKNOWN WORLD OF SOCIAL MEDIA? EVER HAD TO PROTECT YOUR SELF ESTEEM?