Development of the Internet, social media and, most of all, cell phones has given way to abundance of various applications. They allow for sharing various aspects of one’s life and gain followers. Is there however a boundary that should not be crossed?

Social media play quite an essential role for cell phone users. Facebook, Google+ and other popular platforms have their apps dedicated to mobile devices. There are also social media platforms available exclusively on smartphones.

Smartphones with Android and iOS offer virtual stores with thousands of applications. This article focuses on two most popular ones – Instagram and Snapchat.

Instagram

Through this app you can publish photos which can be modified using various color filters and other basic settings. To each photo you can add a description and so called hashtag, which is a single word or phrase with no spaces preceded with # symbol. Hashtag is a type of label. Short messages on microblogs and social media portals like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram may be marked with # (no space) before key words, it may appear in a sentence (e.g. New artists on the #SXSW 2016 festival) or be added to it.

Instagram is very popular and the number of its active users is about 300 million a month. Daily, as per the We Are Social report from 2015, the app is used by 75 million people that post 70 million photos. At the beginning, Instagram was mainly for private persons but companies have also started making use of its potential. They noticed that even a small photo with short description is a good form of free advertisement that can reach many users and potential buyers. Instagram was bought by Facebook in 2012 for jaw-dropping 1 billion dollars!

Snapchat

Snapchat is an equally popular application. It is also used for publishing photos, but they are available for only 10 seconds and then vanish from the portal. What may seem as a misguided idea, has quickly found many enthusiasts. More than 100 million people use it every day and they send 400 million photos. You can also publish photos using “My Story” feature, where you do not have to choose receivers one by one, as each of your Snapchat friends may view it many times for 24 hours from being posted online. Some users use this option as daily vlogs – they show others what they have been doing on a given day.

Snapchat

Privacy

Numbers of Instagram and Snapchat users are huge but there is also a dark side of social media. Namely, it strips you of privacy. When browsing through Instagram you can find profiles that show many private, often intimate, things from their owners’ lives. Interestingly, this phenomenon concerns many famous people and celebrities, as they often tend to cross the boundary between public and private life. Their profiles are full of pics in bed, almost nude or in private situations like spending time with family, shopping etc. People tend to follow this trend and publish information concerning sensitive data that may be used against them.

Pieces of information published on Snapchat and Instagram allow followers to look into other person’s everyday activities, work, social and private life. For many of us this is a boundary that we do not want to cross but many of us do it daily, with every post in social media, though we may not be fully aware of this.

The matter of privacy is regularly brought up on our blog. We have written about using e-mail accounts in a safe way and presented seven habits to be more secure in the web. The issue of exposing yourself on social media portals is of individual nature and can be fully regulated as it is you who decides what to post. If you wish to keep something to yourself, simply resist the urge to publish it online.

There is a pressure on famous people to share their fabulous life with their fans. This is also due to money that stands behind these online exhibitionistic activities, but should one’s privacy be sold? Remember to always think twice before posting something online as once you upload something to the web, it stays there forever.