Lately, it seems that many folks are becoming increasingly more concerned about their social networking presence — and for good reasons, given the problems that sometimes result when individuals are not thoughtful about posted information available for many to see.
Below are some considerations about how to put your best public face forward when sharing information on social networking sites.
Be selective in what you post. First, and probably most importantly, do not post anything on any social networking site that you would not want your current employer, co-workers, potential employers, parents, children or others to see. Unless you are an expert at changing the sometimes-esoteric security settings on most social media sites, it is best to be selective in what you post. Remember that many employers perform a general search for applicants’s names when individuals apply for jobs.
Do not post defamatory remarks about others. Online posts containing profanity or threats, whether they are your words or not, can lead to legal issues at your place of employment. For example, a case in New Jersey involved a college professor posting a picture of his daughter wearing a shirt printed with the words “I will take what is mine in fire and blood,” a quote from the television show “Game of Thrones.” The college dismissed the professor from his position, as administrators perceived the statement on his daughter’s shirt to be a direct threat to others.
Never disclose your physical location. Do not post information about when and where you are going on vacation or other whereabouts. Not all viewers of your information have good intentions, and some may see this as an opportunity to steal from your home or act in other harmful ways. Many social networking sites have a GPS feature that enables the sites to track your every move. You can generally find this setting under location settings and deactivate it or turn it off. The social media sites desire to track your every move for marketing purposes, which is why the sites are free to the public.
Configure the highest possible security settings when using Facebook or Twitter. You can generally accomplish this by choosing settings, then security settings. Be aware, however, that some general settings also relate to security but are not located under security settings. For maximum security, turn on the setting that requires a secure logon to access your account, which will require the use of https to log in.
Disable the auto log in feature. Avoiding use of auto log in features will prevent others from easily using your credentials (and possibly submitting fraudulent posts).
Change the setting that allows others to search for you on social media sites. This effort may help prevent your information from being seen by the public.
A good way to test your online privacy is to conduct your own search — Google yourself! If you have a common name, you may need to narrow the search results by adding more specific terms to your search criteria, such as your city and state. If you have a less common name (like mine), a simple Google search including name only should reveal adequate results.
To learn more about computers and technology, take some courses at Fayetteville Technical Community College or sign up for a complete program of study. FTCC offers a broad range of computer programs to choose from. Learn more at www.faytechcc.edu, or visit the Fayetteville, Spring Lake or Fort Bragg campus locations.