Blurring the Lines

Social Media’s Distortion of reality and the effect it’s having on you and your privacy

Blurring the Lines - Social Media’s Distortion of reality and the effect it’s having on you and your privacy.

Image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/rosauraochoa/3256859352

Are our constructed identities on social media feeding on others insecurities?

Social Media Syndrome

Social media is all about persona. It’s a presentation of your character in a way that you’ve been able to tailor how you want to be perceived. There’s an empowering aspect of social media that gives you control of what others see. Carl Roger’s theory of personality states that it is instinct for an individual to try and improve one’s self as a way of reaching his or her full potential, which is what social media serves to do in the eyes of others. However, it creates this disconnect from reality. The reality is, social media is the highlight reel of people’s lives. Unfortunately, the highlight reels are leaving people blinded. My girlfriend always reminds me of this by asking when I am going to post a real life picture. She suggested me laying on my sofa in my underwear watching Star Trek reruns rather than hiking, drinking green juice and flying first class.

By the numbers

It seems that by submitting to the world of social media, it’s taking a toll on our psyches. According to 53% of users surveyed in 2012 in the UK, social media changed their behavior. Out of the same survey, 51% of users said it was a decline in confidence they experienced from unfair comparisons to others. A Canadian study at York University revealed that Facebook users between the ages of 18-25 seemed to correlate to either having narcissistic or insecure personalities.

How do you measure up?

People are starting to believe that social media is real life and not only are they oversharing, often for attention from people they don’t even know, they are also not thinking about their privacy and safety. I often find myself asking questions. Is it the social pressure put on by social media to be perfect? Am I making the problem worse with the persona I present to the public? Is sharing what I see as positive and motivational information actually creating a bigger gap in perception vs reality?

Privacy and safety

Working in the Cyber Security world and being trained in Social Engineering (I recommend Chris Hadnagys course thoroughly) has given me a good insight into how this oversharing can be used. The number of people that have not updated their privacy settings on Facebook or don’t realize they post their location on their Instagram is scary; pointing out how a complete stranger can see where they likely live and work is even scarier. I fully recommend for those of you in the know, that you do some sort of basic security/privacy awareness training with your family and friends. After all, these can be an attack vector that can effect your own security and privacy, just ask James Clapper Director of US National Intelligence.  The Naval Operations Security team has published some presentations and smart cards for their staff, that are freely available and can be found here:

Security awareness training should be standard practice in most businesses big and small; unfortunately many good quality security training solutions are aimed at large companies with 1000+ staff. We work with SME’s where the costs of buying these training systems are just not viable. With that in mind we have been working closely with a leading training provider to work out a way to supply an enterprise level solution that would cover most security, privacy and compliance training requirements.This way we can get together a group of smaller businesses and crowd-source this product to ensure it is affordable.

If you are interested in this training product or want to find out how Tiro Security can help your business, please connect with me or send me a message.