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May 30

Top 10 Things You Should Not Share on Social Networks- 1

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock in 2009, you know that social networking Web sites are the latest and greatest way to interact with other users on the Internet. Thirty-five percent of adults on the Internet now have a profile on at least one social networking site, and 51 percent have more than one. Three-quarters of users between the ages of 18 and 24 have an online profile [source: USA Today]. The Pew Research Center found that 89 percent of these people use the sites to keep up with friends, 57 percent to make plans with friends and 49 percent to make new friends.

Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Friendster, Urban Chat and Black Planet are just a few of more than 100 Web sites connecting folks around the world who are eager to share their thoughts and feelings. But just like in real life, there’s such a thing as sharing too much information (TMI). It’s easy to get caught up in the social aspects of sites like Facebook, but what you choose to share is there for all to see if you don’t limit who can view your information. The same study by Pew Research found that 40 percent of users have open access to their profiles, allowing anyone to view their information. The other 60 percent restrict access to friends, family and colleagues. Sharing personal information with strangers can be dangerous business, and there are some things you should definitely put on your “do not share” list. We’ll go over 10 of those items in this article.

10: Personal Conversations

On Facebook, users can send personal messages or post notes, images or videos to another user’s wall. The wall is there for all to see, while messages are between the sender and the receiver, just like an e-mail. Personal and private matters should never be shared on your wall. You wouldn’t go around with a bullhorn announcing a private issue to the world, and the same thing goes on the Internet. This falls under the nebulous world of social networking etiquette. There is no official handbook for this sort of thing, but use your best judgment. If it’s not something you’d feel comfortable sharing in person with extended family, acquaintances, work colleagues or strangers, then you shouldn’t share it on your Facebook wall.

9: Social Plans

Sharing your social plans for everybody to see isn’t a good idea. Unless you’re planning a big party and inviting all the users you’re connected to, it will only make your other friends feel left out. There are also some security issues at stake here. Imagine a scenario where a jealous ex-boyfriend knows that you’re meeting a new date out that night. What’s to keep the ex from showing up and causing a scene or even potentially getting upset or violent? Nothing, that’s what. If you’re planning a party or an outing with a group of friends, send a personal “e-vite” for their eyes only and nobody is the wiser. If you’re trying to cast a wide net by throwing out an idea for a social outing, just remember that anyone who has access to your profile sees it.

8: Linking Sites

With 51 percent of social network users taking advantage of more than one site, there’s bound to be some crossover from one to the other, especially if you have the sites linked. You may post something you find innocuous on Facebook, but then it’s linked to your LinkedIn work profile and you’ve put your job at risk. If you link your various profiles together, be aware that what you post in one world is available to the others. In 2009, a case of an employee caught lying on Facebook hit the news. The employee asked off for a weekend shift because he was ill and then posted pictures on his Facebook profile of himself at a party that same weekend. The news got back to his employer easily enough and he was fired. So if you choose to link your profiles, it’s no longer a “personal life” and “work life” scenario.

7: Company Information

You may be dying to tell the world about your new work promotion, but if it’s news that could be advantageous to one of your company’s competitors, then it’s not something you should share. News of a planned expansion or a big project role and anything else about your workplace should be kept private. Sophos, a security software company, found that 63 percent of companies were afraid of what their employees were choosing to share on social networking sites [source: ReadWriteWeb]. If you want to message it out, be selective and send private e-mails. Many companies are so serious about not being included in social networking sites that they forbid employees from using sites like Facebook at work. Some IT departments even filter the URLs and block access to these sites altogether so employees aren’t tempted to log on.

6: Photos of Your Kids

Social networking sites are a common place for people to share pictures of their families, but if you’re one of the 40 percent of users who don’t restrict access to your profile, then those pictures are there for everyone to see. It’s a sad fact, but there are a lot of predators who use the Internet to stalk their prey. If you post pictures of your family and couple that with information like, “my husband is out of town this weekend” or “little Johnny is old enough to stay at home by himself now,” then your children’s safety could be at risk. Nobody ever thinks it will happen to them until it does, so safety first is a good default mode when using social networking sites. Just like with other private matters, send family photos only to a select group of trusted friends and colleagues who you know won’t share them.

Source: How stuff works

Top 10 Things You Should Not Share on Social Networks- 2

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About the author

Njumoke Abiola-Oseni

Njumoke Abiola-Oseni is the Executive Director, Training and Business Intelligence at Trisat Communications Ltd. She holds a Bachelors Degree(B.Tech) in Computer Engineering with ICT Certifications such as Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Project Management, MikroTik Certified Network Associate (MTCNA), and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). She currently administers all Trisat training engagements and consults for SMBs on Business Intelligence such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS), Messaging Systems and Call Center Solutions and Customised Software Application. Njumoke Abiola-Oseni is a Co-Founder of Trisat Communications Ltd.