A cautionary tale

 Deep in the human psyche is something petulant and needy that makes us want to post photos of our expensive toys

My wife is a bit of a reality TV fan. She watches too much of that Kardashian show. That might be why I read with interest that a reality TV show star was recently mugged after he posted a photo of his very expensive watch on Instagram.

Jonathan Cheban, who is apparently a friend of Kim Kardashian, was apparently doing a bit too much "humblebragging" on social media. He was sharing photos of his expensive lunch and expensive jewellery. This apparently attracted the attention of someone who wanted the half million dollar watch for himself. There was an altercation but a security guard stepped in before the thief made off with the goods.

However, I see a bigger story behind the gossip. This D-list celebrity is not the first to run into trouble after posting something they shouldn't. In 2012, a family in the NSW Southern Highlands town of Bundanoon as robbed after their teenaged daughter posted a photo of a pile of cash on Facebook.

So the moral of the story is pretty obvious – don't post photos of expensive things on Facebook or Twitter. But is that really all there is to it?

What is it about social media that causes us to do these stupid things? We've read dozens, if not hundreds, of cautionary tales such as these. We've been told many times not to post on Facebook that the family is away on holidays. But we still don't follow it. We post, share and tweet all kinds of information we shouldn't. Information that thieves and robbers could use against us. Or worse, information that incriminates us.

There is a compulsion to "overshare" on social media. And I know I'm certainly not immune to this; read through my Twitter feed and I'm sure you'll identify far too many "humblebrags" of my own. Deep in the human psyche is something petulant and needy that makes us want to post photos of our expensive toys, or brag when we get one up on the boss.

If I had advice that was more compelling than simply "don't post things you shouldn't", I'd share it with you. Until then:

  • Don't post things you shouldn't.
  • Learn how to use your privacy settings to minimize the number of people seeing the things you posted that you shouldn't have.
  • Get a good friend who you can trust to let you know when you've been a jerk and posted something you shouldn't have so you can take it down.
  • Something to think about, maybe, before you decide you want to show off your snazzy new watch.