As we surely all heard, earlier this week burglars stole millions of dollars worth of jewelry from Kim Kardashian-West. This incident has been all over the news and social media—which have become interchangeable for many people—with users either tweeting their support for the celebrity or blaming her for what happened.
No matter what side of the coin you fall on, Kim Kardashian is a human being and this was a traumatic experience that will likely affect her for the rest of her life. What’s interesting is how the media and social media users are framing this story—that Kardashian-West herself is to blame because she “overshared” on her social media accounts. Oversharing is a buzzword that is used to talk about people who put too much information online. No, we don’t need to know that you just changed your baby’s diaper for the first time.
However, Kim Kardashian-West is a celebrity living in a culture that almost demands oversharing. To a certain extent this “oversharing” is a necessary part of her brand and life because her fans want to live vicariously through the celebrity; Fashion Week in Paris is not something a regular person gets to experience, so getting this window into Kim’s world is exciting and a way of creating engagement.
Saying that Kim brought this on herself by constantly showing off her jewelry or posting where she was crosses the line into victim blaming, though. We can be pretty certain that she wasn’t geotagging her location on Snapchat in the hopes that criminals would target her. Sure, she could have made smarter decisions, especially since her younger sister Kylie has had stalking scares before, related to social media usage. But saying Kim is at fault is unfair; we as a culture demand to see what is happening at all times in the life of a celebrity, but when it bites them in the butt (so to speak) we turn our backs and point fingers.
Think about it this way: leaving your bedroom window open is not an invitation for a stranger to come in and take your things. Social media is Kim’s metaphorical window. She posts what she’s doing and wearing all the time because of her fans (the positive attention is probably nice too). But she didn’t give permission for criminals to traumatize her—the fault is on them for taking advantage of that “open window.” That being said, no matter who you are, it’s good to be cautious.
So what’s the lesson we can learn from all this? The whole point of social media is to share things with each other, so where should we draw the line? Simply put, be smart about what you’re posting on social media. An article from NBC discussed how even regular people can become easy targets through oversharing. Criminals will take whatever they can get, and social media does make it easy for them. Ways to minimize any danger related to oversharing include not posting valuables online, avoiding geotagging in real time or developing posting patterns, and being aware of your location settings on mobile devices.