I am not famous. I do not own a mega multimillion company. I have not headlined in any news story. I am a nineteen year old college student. I work a minimum wage job at a daycare back home, and I’ve just barely began to decide what I want to do in life. With that being said, a person would expect to find very little information when they search my name, however, they gain access to my social networking sites, and sites that have connected to them. My videos that I posted on vine, my tweets, photos from my high school awards, and videos of me singing on youtube all pop up. I made my profile on Facebook private, assuming that it contained such vital information, but without realizing it, I essentially built a roadmap of my life. A stranger can tell you my age and my high school. From that they can narrow down my hometown, and even further, I have given them a picture to identify me by! How safe is social networking? Well I suppose it all depends on how careful you are when you post, and that includes keeping all information very discrete. I thought that I had, but a simple search of my name tells you all about me.
What I found very surprising was that my name was posted on a prayer request in Alabama for my recent surgery. Yes, I had a tumor removed from the base of my brain and cervical spine, but I am from New Jersey, not Alabama! In fact, I have never even been to Alabama.
I was shocked to see this post! I have a sister who lives in Georgia and my only guess is that she might have reached out to friends, to which someone put in a prayer request. The church used the internet as a network to promote the power of prayer. I may live far away, but I became connected to a church in Alabama. What a shock!
As I said before, I’m not famous, but apparently my twitter is worth some cash! In an article called, “Who Really Owns your Photos in Social Media,” by Kathy Gill, it says that the United States court decided that media cannot assume photos on twitter are rights free, however, mine was posted on a site to estimate my twitter’s worth. It was not just my photo, however, I listed the date I joined, the number of followers/people I follow, my bio, (which thankfully is a simple quote,) and my number of tweets. If this website could gain access to all this information, whats to stop anyone from gaining it? If I had made my tweets non-retweetable, and my profile on full privacy, could this have been prevented? Possibly, but the fact of the matter is, I did not, and even if I were to do so now, this information is already posted. I requested to remove my account, but does that mean the information is gone? No, it does not. The internet is like a spiderweb and it branches out all over!
Ever wonder how private your accounts really are? You should. If a site not even connected with twitter, Account Traders, could access my info, who else could? Colleges, companies, or professors? Yes, they absolutely can. Luckily, I don’t post controversial topics, and I was well involved in clubs worth mentioning in High School. Below you can see how many links directly connect you to my information. That’s right, all them do. The first image is an art project I completed in 2012, in high school. The other images have been taken from my twitter. The two people you see that aren’t me? Well they were high school classmates. Although I cant tell you why they come up under my name, we are connected in some way, because they are from my home town, and it is certainly not a coincidence.
If I learned something from this search, its that I need to be a lot more careful. I thought I was posting on twitter, but it turns out that I was posting to much more. I’m taking the steps now to protect my information, should you?