How a pair of extremely tight golden shorts gave me a true internet privacy awakening.

“Oh my God, Ryan!.. Ryan Clayton! Oh my God, what you wore to school athletics, those little yellow shorts *squeeling and laughing*, oh my God how did you go with that drama performance, the one where you’re covered in the fake blood, that looked so intense!”

A something-teen year old girl ran up to me with a vodka cruiser in one hand and a goon sack in the other. At first I was concerned, did I say something rude to offend her? But once that came out of her mouth, I was more concerned, how the hell do I know this person? How the hell does this person know what I wore to my school athletics carnival?

It turns out that this girl had done an intricate stalk of all the guests attending the house party I was at that night, she knew of me through friends of friends, and we apparently had multiple mutual friends. Her friend request was pending on my Facebook when I left the house to go to the party. I literally had no idea who she was.

She began to explain herself to me, she’d Facebook stalked me prior to attending the party and upon having a good stalking; she’d decided that I was to her liking. Who knew golden shorts that were of inappropriate length could be of an attraction to somebody in the 2000’s?

Golden shorts, golden locks, golden socks.. And not a single arms day.

After this incident, it only made me realise how open my social media privacy settings were, how could some girl access my profile and learn so much about me that I thought only my friends could possibly see? That night I swiftly changed the settings to a higher security on my mobile phone.

Does this mean that anybody/ everybody who’d stumbled across my Facebook decided that I was a fake-blood-enthusiast-golden-shorts-wearer? That’s like, the worst online reputation I could ever imagine to form about myself. I truly hope that the internet forgets some things.

Knowing my odds, somebody read that blog.

As a clear indicator of online reputation, I believe that other mainstream social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow users to paint a picture of who they are. My Instagram had been set on private for my entirety of its use. As a bit of a social experiment, up until about 3 months ago when I dropped the privacy settings to public. I posted weekly a new photo and hashtagged until my fingers dropped off. Over a period of 6 weeks, I gained a total of 72 new followers. Though after two weeks of changing my privacy back to a private account, I slowly lost almost all (61) of those followers. Instafollow is an app that allows users to measure the movements of my followers on Instagram. It will let me know when somebody unfollows, follows, blocks, or regularly comments on my profile.

Sometimes I wonder, that angsty teen poem blog that I wrote in year 10 and deleted in year 12, will that still leave a footprint on the internet’s surface? I deleted that blog years ago. But it still concerns me today that somebody around the world once read the words that the dark, emotional, hormone raging 16 year old me wrote.

On that note, can anybody who is reading this never, and I mean never ever, Google search “REAL EYES. REALISE. REAL LIES: A long and detailed poem e-book about why I’ll never trust anybody blog”.

Twitter @ryjclay

Instagram @ryjclay

Soundcloud /ryjclay

About.me /ryan.clayton

WordPress /ryjclay

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