There is a lot of talk about what employers need to do to keep them ‘safe’ from the social media world. But what about individuals? I see a lot of Facebook updates and pictures and it seems as though people don’t understand the implications that can occur from some of them. What you post on these sites lives somewhere whether you delete it from your own account or not, so it is important to think before posting. What can you do to keep yourself and family safe?
Parents: I want to start with what I believe is the most important area. The Facebook discussion is obviously new, but I strongly believe that parents need to make their children aware of the dangers, some which can be long term. I know that some parents aren’t extremely knowledgeable about social media, but it is worth taking the time to learn and discuss…you may even learn some tips from your kids! Make sure your kids understand that what they are posting may not only be seen by friends. Even if their privacy settings are appropriately set up, that doesn’t mean that people that see the posts or pictures won’t talk and word can spread to other adults, teachers, and maybe future employers. While Facebook has taken steps to improve their privacy concerns, that cannot stop the human nature urge to gossip.
Second, at this point we should all be aware of the issue of online predators. Social media is not exempt from this, and at times may even be a breeding ground. While some of these issues are being tackled abroad, the US is still lacking some features. Just announced today is a ‘panic button’ for U.K. minors using Facebook. The panic button will allow the user to report suspicious behavior immediately to the proper authorities. While this was being rejected by Facebook just a few months ago, it appears to be a reality now and should spread to the U.S. shortly after the U.K. release. Learn more about the ClickCEOP app.Also find more tips for child Facebook safety from PCWorld.com.
Employees: Yes, you may be heading your company’s social media policy, but are your posts going to keep you out of trouble? Exclaiming how bad your work day was or how much you hate your boss can easily get back to them. Maybe they won’t fire you for it…but what about that promotion you were hoping for? Those types of post aren’t going to sky rocket your career.
People in general: A carpenter will always say measure twice, cut once. Take that into consideration with social media: think twice, post once! I have seen several status updates that were obviously regretted afterwards. You see them in your news feed, but they are deleted from the profile just a few minutes later. Just because you delete quickly, doesn’t mean that no one saw it. Remember, it only takes one person to see it for word to spread.
What about your location? Sometimes I think that this issue is a little overblown, but there is some validity to it. When you exclaim to the Facebook world that you will be away from your house for 2 weeks, it could create a predicament. My guess is that the majority of people can’t really trust 100% of their Facebook friends, and if you think you do you should probably think twice.
Obviously this is not an all inclusive list, as it would be much longer. And by no means am I trying to deter you from using social media, just use it smart. Again, think twice…post once. Review these tips from Mashable for improving your Facebook privacy settings. Consider what a simple status post or photo could do in the future and take responsibility for your actions and you can still have fun and enjoy the social media world.