- Content Marketing
Let's Measure Social Media ROI in a Way That Isn't StupidTo Grow Your Social Marketing Budget, Determining ROI Is a Critical Job SkillWe Need to Rethink Our Definition of Engagement
When Your Customers Become Your Contributors: Brand Journalism Meets TraditionalGoogle Is Changing the Close Variant Matching Option in AdWordsBefore You Invest in Online Advertising, Do This!Native Advertising: The New New Thing or a Race to the Bottom? [VIDEO]
Technology & Data
Social Change Agent Survey: Passion, Skill Set, and Persistence Lead to Career GrowthSandy Carter's 6 Social Business Lessons to Learn from Candy Crush5 Tips for Creating a Company Culture that Connects with Your Sweet Spot ClientsWhy Leadership Should Be a Collaborative Exercise
8 Internet User Statistics Every Small Business Should Know AboutIs Your Small Business Doing Content Marketing Wrong?5 Free and Effective Social Media Tools Perfect for Small Businesses
- Social Organization
Beyond Engagement: Why Advocacy Is Always About the PeopleFormer IBM Senior Advisors Launch Brands Rising to Build Employee Advocacy ProgramsPerformance and Risk Management Through Social Media TrainingEmployee Advocacy Summit: Advocate Stories from the Field
- Customer Service
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
Is Social Media Stealing Your Life Away?
Posted on March 27th 2014
You wouldn’t spend time with a friend who steals your most valuable possessions, would you? What about a friend who consistently borrows your things and never gave them back? Likely you wouldn’t. Yet, according to Business Insider, you’re spending about 37 minutes a day with social media — a confidant that’s taking your information, and profiting from it. In any relationship, eventually, you have to ask yourself what you’re getting from it. If the answer isn’t a positive one, then maybe it’s time to let it go. Just like the pal who steals, perhaps it’s time to “unfriend” social media.
Is social media stealing your life away? Read on to learn how social media services are buying and selling your private information to other companies that are using it for advertising.
Trading in Social Stocks
Image via Flickr by birgerking
In the same way day traders buy and sell stocks, companies are dealing in your information found on social media sites. In some cases, it’s assumed that the information you provide is being analyzed by an algorithm that targets your demographic so a company can advertise to you. You may have already accepted that engagement ring or weight loss ads are a fact of your social media experience.
But there’s something more sinister and lurking about the way companies are actually harvesting your information outside of what social media services provide access to. At least these practices are somewhat regulated and outlined in the terms and conditions.
Pro Publica reports, “Companies that collect social network information said they only take what is publicly available, and that they follow the rules laid down by each social networking site.” Yet, this isn’t exactly a comfort. Increasingly, as people use social media to find jobs (LinkedIn) and share images publicly (Instagram) to promote the “self brand,” location information and other private details are forgotten by the user. These public items are exactly what companies are capitalizing on.
Criminal Access to Social Information
The same goes for criminals. Identity thieves are potentially profiting from your information as well. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), “The most effective way to protect yourself from identity theft is to make your social profile private. As well, consider the information you're putting on your site. Does your friend of a friend really need to know your home address? Probably not. The more personal details you withhold, the safer you will be.”
The friendly details you share are fodder for common criminals. In the age of information technology, we’re all practically babies — social media is still new to us — and criminals are taking our information like candy. The same BBB report states that 54 percent of all social media profiles are a target for identity theft. What will criminals find on yours?
Stealing From Yourself
Whether or not companies or criminals are stealing your information may not be at the forefront of your mind. But what about the time you’re spending? Those 37 minutes a day translate to 259 minutes a week, and 13,468 minutes a year! If social media isn’t stealing your “likes” or your identity, it’s certainly stealing your time — and that’s one thing you can never gain back.
Social justice isn’t yet widely available. Identifying community corrections and new legislation may be possible in time, but as long as you willingly share your information without regulation, companies, criminals, and the sands of time will wear it away until you have nothing. Until the laws catch up with technology, your best bet is to make your own social media mandates. Restrict what you share and truly consider deactivating the profiles and accounts that don’t add anything to your life — and, in fact, take away from it.
With all the ways social media services and criminals have access to your information, it may seem like you no longer have control of what you share. However, ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what services are worth the networking — and fun — and which ones you could cut ties with altogether.
How will you change your social media habits? Share your thoughts in the comments below.