On Monday, Kim Kardashian West was held at gunpoint and robbed in her Paris hotel room. What must have been a truly horrific ordeal, has been (by the Parisian Police and others) attributed in part, to the star’s social media sharing habits. Regularly posting snaps of her children, location and latest blingy accessories across her social channels, it has me thinking – when did our attitudes towards online privacy become so lax – what ever happened to being ‘cyber safe’?
Growing up in the 90s, we were the generation where it was drummed into us NOT to reveal our location, age or even our names online. This was at a time when the height of social media was MSN Messenger. There are now more people online than ever – 57.3 million in the UK alone – so when did we decide that live-sharing our every move was safe? Diamonds, Parisian hotel rooms and 84 million followers aside, isn’t this a reality check for all of us – social media isn’t always social – with so many people watching our every move, are we sharing more than we planned?
With the array of new social platforms like Snapchat, Periscope and Instagram stories, we are starting to live-share a lot more in the last year than ever before. So here are my thoughts on how we can continue to be active social sharers, whilst ensuring we are safe in an increasingly public online world:
1. Pick your platform and know your audience
The key rule here is an age-old PR rule, always know who you are talking to and tailor what you are saying to your audience. If it’s a public platform and open for anyone to peruse – such as Instagram, don’t share anything that you don’t want to be public knowledge. Restrict this information to platforms like Facebook, where most of us only allow our trusted network of friends to see inside our lives
2. Only historically share your location
I add videos of myself out and about to my Instagram Stories without a second thought, but I never thought about any negative consequences of strangers knowing my whereabouts. When sharing your posts, try and keep your public social shares one step behind your real-time movements.
3. Do not advertise you’re alone
One of the key learnings from the Kim Kardashian West heist is that we should never highlight that we are home alone on social media platforms – especially when in possession of a £3.5million diamond ring.
4. Be smart
We are a generation of sharers, but we need to try and retain a small air of mystery online. We live in a world where social media is being used to stalk, catfish and even recruit terrorists. This isn’t about stopping what we enjoy, but wising up and realise]ing that the 90s scaremongering stands true, there are still really scary people online that are looking for a bit more that #avocadotoast