If you're like me, the first time you saw the blog Rich Kids of Instagram, you decided you wanted to stop being a human for awhile, at least until the current gilded age blows over. But, annoyed salt-of-the-earth types with a petty streak, take heart: turns out, all that social network swapping of pictures of gold watches and private jets and Twitter bragging about LOL shopping! (winky face) may soon need to come to an end. Rich kids' social networking habits are not only irritating the shit out of the rest of the world, they're actually putting the wealthy — and their beloved stuff — in danger.
Now normally, a person who uses FourSquare to endlessly check in to the same coffee shop every morning only serves to endanger their friends' patience, but when you're the teenage daughter of a billionaire, that FourSquare checkin could lead to all sorts of trouble. It doesn't take a rocket scientist (or even, really, a person who has ever had to function as a member of society that is expected to successfully hold a job) to figure out that using social media to broadcast your location, where you plan on going, who you're with, and what fancy thing you're carrying with you could result in complete strangers having that information and using it to bring you harm.
And the days of social network oversharing by the privileged children of The Rich may be numbered. Just this week, Alexa Dell, the 18-year-old daughter of the founder of Dell computers, had her Twitter account suspended over security concerns. Her father spends $2.7 million per year on personal security, but it's hard to keep a person with Alexa's Twitter habits safe. Per Bloomberg,
Alexa happily detailed her every move, including the exact days she would arrive in, say, New York, and where she was shopping. She also put up such things as her high school graduation dinner invitation that foretold where (time, date, location) Michael Dell and his wife would be in a couple of weeks' time.
As Forbes' Meghan Casserly notes, rich kids have been oversharing on Twitter (sometimes to their own ruin) since Twitter has existed. Several years ago, Paris Hilton was robbed after thieves were able to tell exactly where she'd be and how long she'd be out. Now, thanks to the evil magic of Instagram, thieves also get a helpful preview of the sort of merchandise they may want to steal once they know that their wealthy, foolhardy mark is out of the house test driving Mercedes Benzes with their dad. That kid who Tweeted pictures of his gold Rolexed wrist alongside two of his similarly blinged out friends with the hashtag #abundance? Soon watchless, my friend.
Casserly thinks that perhaps the solution to this richest of rich people problems would be for billionaire parents to bar their wards from social media entirely — but security experts say that's probably not feasible. Diamonds are a girl's best friend, and instagramming those diamonds and putting the picture on Twitter with the hashtag #godisgood is a girl's gay best friend. But it's not out of line for monocle-wearing, moneybags hoisting parents to request that their children refrain from posting information on their whereabouts on the internet, or about things that an intrepid hacker could use to break into a person's personal email account (Casserly uses the example of "forgot your password?" security questions that request knowledge-based answers — like "What's your favorite vacation spot?" — as ways for thieves and other ne'er do wells could use Twitter information to guess their way into a rich kid's email — and bank account.)
While I see Casserly's point (flamboyant rich kids on Twitter and Instagram are really and truly The Worst), I say let them social media until they're blue in the face. Let's apply Darwinian survival of the fittest principles to possessions as well as companies. Besides, without dotty wealthy people completely out of touch with reality, the world would be devoid of many a Broadway musical. And down several black market Rolexes.