10 January 2013

Instagram, Oversharing and Online Life

Earlier in December Instagram released their new terms of service stating that they had the right to sell your photos to advertisers and after huge backlash from users quickly retracted this statement but was it too little to late?

This whole event got me thinking about my own online presence and that maybe I needed to make a few changes to the places I hangout and the things I post. When the news first broke about Instagram selling your  photos my first thought wasn't how dare they sell what's mine but what if they take a photo of one of my friends or family and use them in some random campaign, I didn't want to be the one responsible for my dad being the face of viagra or my friends being used for some sort of weigh loss product.

I must admit I am generally careful of what I do and don't post online but sometimes I forget and push that send button without a second thought, I pretty much shared my whole summer in Thailand via Instagram but looking back on some of those photos made me think that perhaps I should have kept them private.

For me this whole Instagram debate became something more than some company stealing and selling my photos it was a wake-up call that made me wonder if maybe the all the things I'm posting online could be used and viewed in ways I don't want them to be and so I made the decision to delete my gallery.

Following that decision I went through my whole Flickr account (aka 5 years of my life!) and made private any photo which I didn't want compromised, so any photos of my family or friends and any photo which could potentially jeopardize our safety like photos of my nephew's school, work, house etc...

In the early days of the internet we were constantly warned against posting personal things online and sharing our pictures with anyone because it was a place full of stalkers, weirdos and paedophiles and now it's become the complete opposite with the most popular sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram encouraging us to share every thought, moment and coffee drank with the world. That image of the internet being a place for "weirdos" has almost been forgot and whilst yes the internet is not full of people wanting to chop your head off and play with your blood we still should exercise some sort of caution about the things we do post online and take a moment to think before we push that send button.

Will I continue to use Instagram? Well I thought long and hard about it and yes, I love the community and it's an awesome place for promotion especially for those of us with small businesses but I will definitely be more careful and selective of the things I post on there and other sites.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Has this news affected how you use Instagram or other social media? Be sure to share in the comments as I'd love to hear your opinion.

Love & Glitter

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