Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Having My Phone Number, Isn't An Invite Into My Life

Last night, we had an amazing rainstorm, which woke me up and led me down a midnight path of frustration and annoyance. It took me to a place of realization that if someone has my mobile number it means that they have a public invite into my online life.

I went to bed at around 10 to a few drops of rain, just a bit of drizzle really,  wishing it would just rain instead of this continuous tease of dark clouds and the wind we have been having of late. I was then rudely awoken from a deep slumber to the annoying sound of the electric fence alarm and thrashing rain and lightning and thunder.

I was never one to enjoy rain especially thunderstorms, but after seeing pictures of dead fish lying on the banks of the empty rivers and dams and the skeletal bodies of farm animals on TV, I now have a different perception of rain and rainstorms. We have also spent a fortune on our garden and to see the plants wilt away in the sun is not only disheartening but also very sad. After all, flowers, plants and grass etc are also living things that we can't live without. We need plants for oxygen, contrary to some who believe that plants and greenery are unnecessary and a waste of water.

Well after being woken from my deep sleep, I was too excited about the rain to go back to sleep. I just wanted to run out and dance and sing in the rain. No, I lie, I am not the singing and dancing in the rain person, but I did want to go out in the rain and throw Epsom Salts, compost and fertilizer all over the plants at 3 am in the pouring rain.

I didn't do that because a) I would get struck by lightning and b) we live in South Africa so we lock ourselves inside at night and don't make a habit of going out into the garden at 3 am. So what do we do when we can't sleep at night?? We take out our electronic devices and hit up Social Media, which I did.

I haven't really been on Instagram lately, so I went through my timeline liking photos and reading comments and every now and again I noticed these two profiles that came up, under "you may like this". That seems to be something new with Instagram and something I  haven't paid particular attention to. Yet, in the middle of this random rainy night when I should be fast asleep or at the least very tired, two faces are popping out at me and looking quite familiar. My gut instinct kept dragging my mind to these two profiles until I had a good look. Turns out that one is the mother of one of Chad's friends from long ago and the other is a cashier that worked for us in the shop we had. How on earth did they pop up on my Instagram that has no real reference to my real name? My phone number, of course!

I am this crazy person who has a public blog and social media accounts but I am very private and don't invite people who I am acquainted with in real life into my online life. Even people I am more than acquainted with are not invited to view my life, so I was deeply annoyed that Instagram, since being bought out by Facebook now connects you to people through your phone number.

I have had the same mobile number for almost 19 years and over the years many people have had my number, given to them by me or someone else, but that does not mean that I want them nosing around my very public private life. I don't like giving out my number, but over the years I have had to and now who knows how many people with Instagram accounts have had my profile come up as someone they may like.

I was one of the very first to have Facebook before it was well known in South Africa and now I don't have it. I have a profile because I have photos on there and I joined Facebook to start a Memorial Group for Clint, so I still have all that stuff, which is the only reason why I have not deleted my account completely. I cannot stand Facebook because of the "You May Know.." friend list always popping up.  Friends of friends, Mark's family popping up in my space 😱. Technology is amazing but not when you use one laptop for work and personal stuff and all work email addresses somehow come up on my personal Facebook account as people I may want to be friends with. No, I don't want to be your friend, thank you, client, from hell - stay out of my personal space.

A few weeks ago I made both my Twitter and Instagram accounts private, figuring, why have a private blog when Instagram and Twitter are open for all and sundry. It was obviously after Instagram changed and I feel rather uncomfortable knowing that anyone I once knew could have had a view of my life. They say Social Media has turned us all narcissistic, in reality, it has turned us all into stalkers just short of being voyeurs. Although I don't dispute some may be sexual deviants as they look through image after innocent image turning it into something it was never meant to be.

Thanks to the rain for drenching both my parched garden and my parched brain. Not only did it bring out green shoots in the dead grass and awakened the dying spring buds but also woke up my dead brain to the realities of the new Instagram [un]privacy settings. I just hope Instagram does not end up where Facebook is in my life because I really enjoy the Instagram community. I don't get the Instagram Stories and I don't get Snap Chat at all, but I do love Instagram. I am hoping that by removing my phone number from my profile and making my profile private, I won't have people who I have not seen or heard from in many years [and more importantly who I don't like] popping up in my feed.

The pitfalls of Social Media - I guess the emphasis is on "Social" and the irony of it all is that I am the least Social person you will ever find with all these Social Media accounts. 😜

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