“OMG, your bank details are posted on your Insta handle” squealed the daughter in alarm late last night. She has a higher value of social media than I do. My handle had been changed slightly and was busy selling bitcoins. My photo had been used on one post to celebrate my “returns”. Hacking in the past has meant that your friends would receive messages pleading for help and money. This is different.

I’ve been forced to be an Instagram Influencer!

I’ve mostly lurked on Insta. When everyone said Facebook is dead I also opened an account there and post the occasional photo. I did not realize I was an Insta influencer until today. One person has made a transaction on the scamster’s site.

Is the value of social media really that high

I was one of the earliest users of Facebook, joining after attending a Fortune event in 2009 that featured David Kirkpatrick who went on to author “The Facebook Effect” . At the time Facebook was this shiny new hope and I signed up. A year later I was competing for likes, friends, and fraandship. For my first book, No Money Marketing, I catalogued everything from the title to its launch on Facebook. Of late my usage has been mostly for the groups which are very useful for niche hyperlocal topics and as an archive of my photos. Pretty harmless to keep it going, I thought. Till last night.

I have reached out through the proper channels, and also the back channels to retrieve my account. But the damage is already be done. The damage has certainly been done to my sense of safety online. I will definitely be reconsidering social going forward. Even LinkedIn where I was amongst the first 100,000 on the platform.

Back to In Real Life (IRL)

We were binge-watching White Collar at home – it was launched in October 2009 and what stood out was how often people called each other rather than rely on text. In my current crisis, much of the communication around the hack has been done on Whatsapp. Including finding help and resources. Whatsapp is definitely more personal than the other platforms. But perhaps if I relied more on phone calls I’d be safer? And people would feel comfortable calling each other before running off to invest in the next goldrush?

From validation to information

I confess that I have been hooked to the likes and that this was the search for external validation. Hopefully my reduced lack of need for social is connected to less need for external validation. It is also because social has moved from actually connecting you to people to providing information and entertainment.

Social media is now more a hyper-personalised TV than a way to engage with friends and family.

Nowadays my “filler” go-to is Spelling Bee on NYT along with a brief glance at the news. Search is either google or ChatGPT. Entertainment is streaming channels. I am looking to spend more time on things like baking and sewing. Is it a quest for nostalgia? Or has social run its course?

LinkedIn takes care of corporate networking and validation and Whatsapp takes care of engagement with friends and family. Should I simplify my life? What do you think? Which channels are delivering value to you?

If you want tips on building your personal brand on social media, I can recommend this article, “Use of Social Media to Build Your Personal Brand” by Ira Pradhan.


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