Social media is great. When used properly, social networks allow us to stay connected with family and friends or re-connect with those who we’ve lost contact with. As business owners it allows us to expand our client base and reach people we otherwise wouldn’t be able to. However, when used improperly, social media can be an outlet for bullying, addiction, affairs, and can even threaten your safety. It’s becoming more and more clear that people have become dependent on social media for a sense of connection. Some people share every detail of their day to day lives from the major to the mundane, but there are some things that just shouldn’t be shared on social networks. Here’s a list to get you started:
- Complaints about your job/company/boss: We’ve all heard the stories of folks who have gotten fired after airing out their grievances about their boss online. Many companies have social media policies and employees can face stiff penalties for violating them.
- Incriminating photos or information: If you’re gonna call in sick to work, it’s probably not a good idea to post those concert pictures online. On that note, those location check-ins might get you in trouble too.
- Family or relationship drama: This one should be simple but it’s the one I see the most. Everyone can read between the lines of your cryptic little posts and it’s not a good look. Don’t air out your dirty laundry online.
- Passwords: No brainer right? I wish it were.
- Personal Information: Even if you know better than to post your passwords, some folks don’t think twice about posting pics outside their homes with the house number visible, a new drivers license picture, or even a snap of a birth certificate! Criminals can piece all of this information together and show up right at your door.
- Your daily schedule or vacation plans: When you post things like “So tired of getting ready for work at 5am every day. Can’t wait to go to Jamaica next week!” criminals now know exactly when you’ll be out of your house and even when you leave for work every day.
- Images or videos of your children: Only 60% of people restrict access to their personal online profiles. If you’re part of the 40% that allows open access, posting pictures and information about your children can make them targets for predators. Protect your little ones as much as possible by either limiting or eliminating and information about them. Also, go through your friends list and delete anyone you don’t know IRL (in real life). You can never be too cautious.
- Death of a friend or family member: Hear me out on this one. When we lose someone important to us, we often feel the need to memorialize them to the world. While that’s perfectly normal, it’s in really bad taste to post information about a death immediately or soon after it has happened. Consider this: other family members and close friends may not have gotten the news yet and no one should have to find out that their brother/uncle/best friend passed via Facebook.
Now that you know what NOT to share, here are a few tips on how to get you cyber ‘house’ in order because in this day and age, you never know who’s watching:
- Review your photo albums, profile picture and remove any photos that contain anything inappropriate or compromising
- Check photos of you or ones that other people have tagged you in. Un-tag yourself if you need to
- Set your profiles to private or limited
As a general rule, if you wouldn’t want it on the front page of the New York Times, you probably shouldn’t put it on social media. No matter the security measures you’ve taken to protect your personal profiles, there is no absolute guarantee of security. One thing we can learn from celebrity social media drama is that once something is out there in cyberspace, you can never get it back. It’s not called the World Wide Web for nothin’.