We’ve all seen and heard the news coverage surrounding Facebook data leaks and government data mining, so we thought it would be a great time to discuss the kind of information you should and shouldn’t be sharing with others online and off. Social media has made its way into our daily lives, and we shouldn’t have to give it up to feel “safe.” However, it’s important to recognize that there’s a way to use it and a way not to use it in order to keep your conscious clear during times like these.
Let’s start with one of the more controversial social mediums out there: Snapchat. What you should be using this for: silly selfies between friends. What you should not be using this for: revealing and inappropriate pictures that your grandmother wouldn’t approve of. Yes, this app revolves around the concept that the pictures you send disappear after a number of seconds. However, recent news revealed that there are companies out there that can dig up any “unrecoverable” Snapchat they please. Lesson learned? Think before you snap.
Next up: Facebook. The largest social network in the world has been in the news for inadvertently exposing six million users’ phone numbers and email addresses. This is just another reminder to post wisely. You never know who is looking at your profile or downloading that one college picture of you doing a keg-stand. Who knows, you may run for congress someday, and you definitely don’t want that picture from ten years ago coming back to haunt you. A good way to keep yourself in check is to treat every single status update, picture and direct message as if your boss could see it all. More and more employers are asking for their employees’ Facebook information, sometimes going as far as requesting your password. Take the time now to go all the way back to the first day you signed up for Facebook and delete anything and everything that you wouldn’t be proud to show grandma.
Twitter/Instagram/Vine etc.: Bottom line: be classy and know that nothing you post on the Internet is completely safe or private. Social media has given rise to increased transparency, but know when to draw the line regarding what you share with the world. It’s great that we have these tools, and there are some truly beneficial ways to use them, but do not put your career and reputation in danger by abusing the mighty power that social networks give us. Be smart, and you will be safe!