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Protecting Your Ass(ets) on Social Media

Social Media Online PrivacyWhen it comes to social media, many people have jumped on the bandwagon, but not many have considered the ramifications to their online identity, their assets and their personal brand.  When you participate in social media you have to realize that you have relinquished your privacy to your friends, their friends, fans, followers, and connections. As you layer each social activity on top of one another, you lay a pattern or breadcrumb trail of your data where people start to connect the dots on your activities. It allows market researchers to know your likes and dislikes and gives the ability to companies to sell to you in targeted ads. It also can put you in harm’s way of a cyber crime because your data lives in perpetuity online. Being smart online will allow you to be safe online. Below are some helpful tips.

  1. Don’t geo-tag photos of your house or your children on any social network.
  2. Untag yourself in photos online.
  3. (If you must) Check-in thoughtfully when you are alone. Do it as you are leaving.
  4. Don’t let others check-you-in via Facebook Places (uncheck this box)
  5. Don’t let others tag you in photos on Facebook.
  6. Control how your friends on Facebook share content about you (via privacy settings/apps & privacy settings/Things Others Share)
  7. Don’t list your GPS location on Twitter or in tweets. No one needs to know where you live specifically. And certainly don’t do the longitude/latitude location.
  8. Carefully select who you accept into your social circle on LinkedIn and Facebook.
  9. Be selective of who you share certain content with such as photos, links, posts. Utilize lists in Facebook, Private Groups on LinkedIn.
  10. Don’t ever put personal information in a post. (ex. travel, your spouse or children’s names/photos)
  11. Don’t talk about work in posts (be general, no specifics). Just because you aren’t directly connected to the person or company you are ranting about doesn’t mean no one else in your network isn’t.
  12. Don’t curse on any social network. 70% of recruiters rejected candidates due to inappropriate comments or text written by a candidate. (Source: Microsoft 2010 Research)
  13. Remove or deactivate social media accounts you no longer use.
  14. Don’t integrate your social networks. It may seem like a good idea, but often we act differently on different platforms.
  15. Don’t reveal your birthday. This information is only useful to your family and friends and chances are you don’t need to remind them. Legally, there is no reason a social network needs your real birthday anyway.
  16. Turn off geo tracking on your cell phone and laptops.
  17. Take the time to go through the privacy settings on social networks. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to your safety and those around you.
Danah Boyd, a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research, a Visiting Researcher at Harvard University’s Law School, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales sums it up best, ““Privacy isn’t about controlling functional access to content as much as knowing what to share when and how it will flow.”
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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.