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Stalkers Galore: How Safe Are You Online? [Personal Experiences Of Privacy Invasion]

Posted on January 8, 2012 in Specials

By Soumya M:

Orkut- My first ever social networking site. Initially I loved the concept of finding and adding long lost friends, seeing what they were up to, what was going on in their lives, the communities where all like minded people can come together and share their interests. It was something like a fairy tale turned true. I was a fresher in college and I was one of the handful of people who had their Orkut profiles. No wonder I became popular in a short span of time – as those were Orkut’s initial Indian days.

Current scenario- 2012, the beginning of the year. No Orkut, no Facebook… in fact no social networking, and no friends in touch either.
It took me quite some time to understand that my social networking habits had been ruining my life and my relationships. One fine day, somebody started posting slander about me and shared it with all my friends. I was aghast, terrified and shattered. My social networking habits had to come with a price. I had my friends, family members and a few teachers in my friends list! What would they think? Would they be considerate enough to understand me as person and then deicde that I am being victimized?

It was then that I realized how people are using ways to sneak into your life and give you sleepless nights. A few days later, I deleted my Orkut profile. I learned the hard way. I got to know who were really my friends and who just pretended. The reason for all the mess is me. My online profile was a peephole into my private life and made some people jealous (well, this is the reason I used against the culprit, to strengthen my case). I disclosed more information than I should have. My scrapbook was open to all. I had no private life! Well, the wise thing was that I never uploaded photos of any kind.

I understand that social networking has filled a considerable gap between people. With a site like Facebook, we can like, unlike, comment and share, maybe unshare too, is there? Not to mention – the status updates we regularly get from all our contacts. ‘I’ve lost ma phone. poor meee!!’ or ‘noone wished me today, its my birthday :(‘ and much worse ‘xyz had a baby girl, i heard it was C section!’ Give me a break folks. I don’t even know who this xyz is, and why should I be given the update about her private life? Don’t update your every move. You are inviting stalkers towards yourself. And respect the privacy of others, don’t divulge sensitive information about someone else’s life. Photos are meant to be private, why upload pictures and cry later when you find doctored versions of them?

Nevertheless, I strongly feel that all of us need to keep an eye on ourselves, are we telling the world more than they need to know? Be it your friends, classmates or your neighbors, don’t share pieces of your life which should be a part of your life only. It’s always good to keep something about yourself – with yourself. You never know who might misuse that information. People can easily track you based on the information you give in, if some stalker wants to find your profile, all he needs is to mention your high school and your locality. Stalkers can be evil geniuses too. If they don’t find you one way, they will cross check with your friends and colleagues too. Yup, some people do have the time to do all this – and you know it.

Make sure your privacy settings are set right and have different content hidden for different people.

Recommended for Facebook users: Making it easier to share with who you want. Also read, HOW TO: Prevent and Report online stalking.