Like the Internet itself, social media has become a big part of our everyday lives. By now, most people have accounts and profiles on social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn. Some are using all four on a regular basis.
While social media can be a fun “escape” and a great way to catch up with friends, family and co-workers, it also poses many dangers. Did you know that identity thieves are using Facebook, and what people say on it, to steal personal information from unsuspecting users? And while you may want to scream out loud on Facebook that you are embarking on a fun-filled road trip for a week, remember that other people might see that status update and start planning a burglary.
So how do we protect ourselves in this new world of social media? Here are a few tips:
People Will Read What You Write – Be aware that what you post will be available to almost anyone for consumption. If you are considering posting something that you do not want even one person to read, DO NOT POST IT.
Be Careful When You Post Pictures – Those weekend party pictures might impress your friends, but a current or potential employer might think otherwise.
Choose Your Online Friends Carefully – When using a social media site for business reasons, make sure that any of your personal friends you add will not “tag” you with unsavory or unprofessional pictures, comments, etc.
Consider Separating Your Work and Home Life
If a client wants to add you as a friend on Facebook, make sure you are comfortable with them seeing your personal posts. Better yet, ask them if you can “connect” on LinkedIn instead, where the social atmosphere is more professional.
Never Give Out Personal Information – There are too many sneaky ways for identity thieves to use this information to hurt you.
Thoroughly Read and Understand Privacy Settings – And when you understand them, make sure to set them up accordingly!
In addition to protecting your personal information and determining your comfort level with adding friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc., remember to be mindful of what you say about clients and your current employer. Just because you know something about a client’s business practices does not mean the client gave you permission to talk about it. And future employers will take note of disparaging comments about your current employer when deciding whether to hire you or not.
Finally, AnswerNet’s Facebook page is rapidly growing and is a great source for company news and information. “Like” us today and stay connected!