“Present shaming” post reminds us that social media is not always private

By: Katie Gerweck

presents

Source: flickr.com

By now we all know how important it is to watch what you post on social media. Inappropriate posts can be found by potential employers and hurt your chances of getting a job, and with screenshots the pictures we post may never truly go away. But even when we’re careful, our posts can still cause problems, in ways we might not have even thought of.

That’s what happened to British mother Emma Tapping this past Christmas season. Tapping posted a picture of her Christmas tree surrounded by a pile of presents so high it almost obscured the tree (source). According to Cosmopolitan, the picture was then taken from Tapping’s Instagram and shared on a Facebook page “specializing in funny memes and videos” with the caption “It’s nearly time for the materialistic parents to compete and broadcast how many presents their kids have. Just remember there are a lot of children who won’t get much” (source).

The picture was shared almost 100,000 times, with many commenters criticizing Tapping for spoiling her kids or bragging about the number of presents she bought (source). According to ABC News, Tapping later defended herself on Facebook, writing that the picture “…was taken, screenshot and blasted all over facebook without my knowledge. It was not done as a ‘bragging parent.'” (source).

Tapping’s story is a good reminder that the pictures we post on social media can be interpreted different ways, and how easily our pictures can be screenshot or saved. Even if we only intend for our friends or family to view our posts, public profiles are exactly that: public. Although we would like to think that people will not take our photos, it’s important to remember that they can – so think carefully before you post, or change your privacy settings.

Katie Gerweck is a senior majoring in public relations with a minor in journalism. She is the editor-in-chief for EMU PRSSA. She was the copy chief for the Eastern Echo during the summer of 2015.

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