Mental Monday: Social Media, Health and Privacy

(c) Megan S, December 2013
(c) Megan S, December 2013

As we move into this Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang picture book I want to take a look at our social media habits.

Both in my online communities and my home life the issue of safety and privacy in sharing information online has been discussed over the last few weeks. As people become more and more reliant on technology for their communication and relationship building they are sharing more and more information about themselves online.

How do we know we’re not sharing too much?

I don’t have the answer to this question but it’s something I’ve been debating with myself and those around me. There are 2 key examples I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

Firstly, my husband tracks his rides with an online service and I brought up the fact that it’s a bit concerning people can work out where he lives and works thanks to the information that goes up on the site that anyone can access. He acknowledged my concern and then pointed out that if anyone looked him up online (either on Google or in a telephone directory) they’d get both addresses anyway. With all the information that is available through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other networking sites, it is now fairly easy to find out almost anything you want to know about anybody (as long as they’re online – which most people are). This scares me.

The second example is my blog and online presence. I want to be as open and honest with everyone as I can be, but how much information is too much? Especially when it comes to my health. Anyone could read what I’m writing here and elsewhere and, although I know the truth, people may misinterpret what is written or may abuse the information they have access to. For example, if I wrote about an outing I went on or an event I attended I would know that I was only able to attend that event with a lot of careful planning, scheduled rests both before, during and after, and usually with a massive payback afterwards. But someone else reading about the event may just see that I went out and had fun. They may question why, if I’m able to attend this event, am I not working, why can’t I attend another completely different event that they want me to attend, or why I claim to be unable to help out with certain activities. These kind of misunderstandings and miscommunications also scare me.

My questions for you are:

How can we protect ourselves from misunderstandings or misuse of information that is readily available about us online?

How much information do you share online about your health and activities?