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Four Social Networking Faux Pas You Should NEVER Commit Comment

Four Social Networking Faux Pas You Should NEVER Commit
Is that kebab in your hair?!

The world as we know it is becoming increasingly digital. You can’t buy a burger these days without someone snapping a pic of it with their 836 megapixel camera-come-smartphone-come-spaceship and uploading it instantly for the viewing pleasure of countless, eerily intangible, ‘friends’, ‘followers’, ‘connections’. But who else is watching? It’s high time to get social-networking savvy and we’re here to tell you how…


I don’t know about the rest of you, but the mention of terms such as ‘social media surveillance’ and ‘data protection’ sends me into fits of paranoia. I find myself googling my own name and obsessively sifting through privacy settings with a fine toothcomb; will my future employers ever find that excruciatingly embarrassing photo of my 16-year-old self, brandishing a bottle of Lambrini like a trophy while splattered head-to-toe with neon paint?

What about that one of me falling headfirst out of an abandoned (probably stolen) shopping trolley, which had somehow found its way to that raging house party in South London? Can I hit ‘delete’ – that shining beacon of a button which promises deliverance from all our cyber-sins?

Dammit, no, because they’ve been uploaded by once-close friends-now-distant-acquaintances and getting in touch merely to politely request that the incriminating evidence be removed would be both awkward and embarrassing. You know what I’m on about – we’ve all been there.

It seems to me that cyber-space is a black hole into which we all voluntarily throw our funniest, most embarrassing, most interesting, most personal information only to have it resurface quite unhelpfully on the browsers of the very people we would least want to have it seen by – employers, recruiters, teachers, parents and, as recently discovered, perhaps even the government.

So how can you keep your online presence pristine? You should probably start by avoiding the following social-media screw ups:

#1 – Leaving yourself logged in

The situation…

We all have those smart aleck friends who fancy themselves the masters of wit, when really their sense of humour only extends to the crude and disgusting. This is fine, for the most part. As an objective bystander you can laugh vaguely at their ‘jokes’ and carry on with your life.

But then you remember that you’ve left the house and your laptop is whirring away contentedly in your bedroom, practically begging your jeering housemates to violate your Facebook status again, and again…and again.

The consequences…

Most of your Facebook network will understand what has happened and indulge in a cheap laugh at your misfortune.

Anyone else that has happened to side-step your flimsy privacy settings, i.e. prospective employers, will consider you an immature and foul-mouthed baboon. Too-da-loo, job prospects.

#2 – Uploading photos in which you demonstrate a complete disregard for dignity, morals, self-respect, etc., etc…

The situation…

You’re having a great time with your pals, mingling, socialising, getting absolutely wasted, and the best thing is that you’ve got the following day off work because you’re ‘suffering from a 24-hour bug’ – wink, wink.

Your camera-phone is practically glued to your hands because two glasses of wine is all it takes to make you feel like Tyra Banks. Thank the lord for that Facebook/Twitter/Instagram app that lets you upload photos straight away – you just can’t keep the fans waiting these days.

The consequences…

You wake up bleary eyed to find your social networking site of choice inundated with likes, retweets, comments on dozens of photos that you don’t remember uploading, in which your lipstick is smeared across your face, your dress bears the telling stamp of Snakebite…and is that some kebab in your hair?!

Your friends find it hilarious – you party animal, you.

Your boss comments, ‘Glad you’re feeling better.’ Oh hey there, unemployment.  Fancy seeing you again.  

#3 – Forgetting to delete your Bebo/Myspace

The situation…

You’re an angst-ridden, misunderstood 14-year-old and the only way to express yourself is through your Bebo ‘skin’. Linkin Park’s ‘Numb’ is an appropriate accompanying song – the theme tune to your life,  if you will – and the number of ‘loves’ you get a day becomes a determining factor with regards to your self-esteem.

Suddenly Facebook comes along and you’re so busy with your transition to social-networking for grown-ups that all thought of said Bebo and Myspace completely slips your mind.

The consequences…

Some ten years later you remember your childhood cyber-space haunts and a chill runs down your spine – did you ever hit ‘Delete Account’?

It would transpire that you did not. The ramifications of this do not extend to your current working life but you spend so long cringing at your teen self that your face cramps up and you spend hours in physical and emotional pain.

#4 – Becoming a Twitter Troll

This final social-media screw up is such an abominable use of networking sites that I can’t even contemplate imagining a hypothetical situation in which it would be redeemable.

Consequences of trolling, you ask? Legal action, jail time, public outrage, mockery at the hands of Scott Mills on Radio 1 (Loving the Trolls, anyone?!). Chances that you actually turn into a real-life troll are also astoundingly high.

So take our advice, ladies and gentlemen. It may be too late to delete your Facebook. You may be haunted by the terrifying fact that everything you put online will to some extent leave a trace that is ‘un-deletable’. Stay social-networking savvy, however, and the battle between man and technology may not be completely lost.

Image courtesy of Craig Murphy, 'Kebab Mahal Edinburgh'

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