A 2015 study by Ofcom discovered that 72% of adult Internet users have a social media profile. With services such as Facebook topping the 1 billion user mark, that really is no wonder, but the prevalence of social media has, unfortunately, highlighted the flip side of being constantly connected.
Posting pictures of last night’s dinner and recounting the wonderful time spent with family at the weekend is what many of us use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook for. Indeed, take one scroll through your timeline, and you’ll see friends and family doing just that. It’s usually a happy, vibrant place to be.
Until you get it wrong.
In this post, I’m going to uncover the flip side of social media and demonstrate how posting about and sharing our lives can land us in rather perilous water.
It’s a time drain
How many times have you endlessly scrolled through your Facebook wall only to stop and think ‘what on earth am I doing?’ before discovering that the dinner has burned, your spouse has given up talking to you and the dog is crossing his legs at the front door?
Social media is a serious time drain and we’ve all been guilty at some point of falling into the cavernous black holes of Facebook and Twitter.
It could cost you your home insurance
Sound a bit far fetched? Think again.
I bet you’ve taken great delight in informing your friends on Facebook that you’re just about to head off on a two-week holiday in Crete. You may even have told them exactly when you’re heading off and when you’ll be returning. Lovely for you, depressing for your friends and absolute gold dust for thieves.
It gets worse, because many insurance companies are getting wind of the fact that their customers are willingly providing details to the outside world of when their homes will be vacant, thus in the insurer’s eyes, breaching the terms of the policy by not demonstrating ‘reasonable care’.
It can land you in hot water with the boss
The nature of social media means employees often get away with using it as a ‘shield’ when procrastinating. Tapping away on your keyboard, hurriedly scrolling with your mouse; all of a sudden, updating your Facebook profile and checking out the comments on last night’s episode of Eastenders can legitimately be passed off as hard work.
Bosses aren’t daft, though. Do it too often and you’ll end up receiving a ticking off. And that’s before you realise just how much time you’ve wasted on social media at work.
It can be overwhelming
‘Ping!’. There’s another notification. And another. It’s almost relentless, the constant stream of dings, bongs and pop-up windows, which now fill our waking hours.
The more you use social media, the more the notifications intensify.
It can be incredibly useful to be reminded of a friend’s upcoming birthday, but do you really need to know when a classmate you barely had anything to do with at school replies to a comment on one of your holiday photos? Notification overload can be overwhelming and, at worst, stressful.
It can cost you your job
If you think getting a ticking off for using social media during working hours is bad, consider the consequences of posting something inappropriate when you’re away from the office. A Facebook status update fuelled by a drunken night out and aimed at the misfortune of a co-worker could cost you your job. A regular occurrence in the world of celebrity, the perils of inappropriate activity on social media can have catastrophic consequences.