Social Media Privacy Protection

By Courtney Broyles

According to an article on Mashable, social media is important but there are still things to new and existing users should be cautious about. The article, Back to School: 10 Privacy Tips for the Connected Student gives 10 tips from Fran Maier, “the president and executive chair of TRUSTe, the leading online privacy solutions provider” on protecting the newcomers to social media.

In reading over these tips, I thought of my younger brother in High School who started using his Facebook for not only socializing but also networking with college coaches and sports reps. Social media can be a great tool for networking, especially when it comes to national and international communication. However, I have to wonder if he is educated in the world of social media and PR enough to understand how to look credible and professional online.

Tip number 4 on the list from the article, to me, is the most overlooked and hardest concept to master in networking on the web. Protecting passwords and login information has been an issue addressed since the invention of e-mail. Protecting your dignity on the streets of the digital world is a new idea that came along with the rise of social media and blogs.

My little brother can’t take ‘Social Media PR 101’ and neither can the majority of people. So how can new comers avoid having to do major social media damage control? That’s a good question. I look to you as readers for input on this issue. As new means of social media pop up everyday, how can we provide or direct new comers to the right resources so that the potentially talented journalist, athlete or young professional doesn’t give the wrong impression online.

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9 responses to “Social Media Privacy Protection

  1. We’ve all learned that social media can make or break you. I dont necessarily think there will ever be a way to protect yourself completely from the negatives of social media. All we can do as users of this technology is embrace it. By embracing it we also need to remember to be smart, and realize that anything we put online will also stay there, and EVERYONE can see it. Especially as college students, we work our butts off in class and getting involved in organizations so we can have every internship opportunity available. Then the weekends come…and after the weekends come pictures. We as students, and future employers of our dream jobs, need to take in to account our actions and the photos that follow along with the actions. Social media is a valuable tool for us today, but we need to be smarter than the technology.

  2. I completely agree with Hilary. We have to remember that even parts of our “profile” or “page” that we think are private, can most likely be viewed in some way. With every post, we really need to think about what message we’re portraying because your future (or current) employer could be watching.

  3. Social media should be approached as a face-to-face conversation with a superior. It is easy to get lost behind the screen in a status rant, but would you do that in front of your Aunt Sarah?

    My guess is probably not. In order for people to understand the impact and longevity of their words on the internet, they must first understand that what is written on the internet is forever. If you tell Aunt Sarah you don’t like her tuna salad, she may forget by next summer. Yet, if you post a status about your boss’s hideous wardrobe, it will still be there in three years when you are looking for a new job.

    Despite who we think we are connected with, the internet is not just something used by our closest friends. Sharing information on the internet is similar to shouting it at the entire world.

  4. As much as we all love it, social media can be scary and have profound consequences. Obviously, things like status updates, comments, and Tweets are easy to moderate ourselves, but when it comes to compromising pictures, where do you begin? Yeah, your friends to take them down, but you’ve already been exposed, and people have seen the content. No matter how careful we are ourselves, it’s not always up to us, which is the scariest part.

  5. I definitely agree that social media can be risky. Typically, if I have to think about the appropriate-ness of something for too long, I deem it inappropriate and leave it in iPhoto. I had a lot of trouble with this, though, while I was abroad last semester: I was above the legal drinking age in Spain, and the line really blurred regarding what was okay for Facebook and what wasn’t. Can I hold a glass of wine in a picture taken while in Spain? Could I post a picture with a beer in Germany?

    My sensible, slightly paranoid side won out for the most part. I avoided posting any pictures with me and alcohol, even though I was in a place where I was legally able to drink. You never know what someone else may post about you or tag you in; it’s really important to be careful and vigilant.

  6. To play the devil’s advocate here a little, often times I believe that we over-emphasize the role of social media and future employers. However, it is justified due to the many horror stories we hear about when someone’s social media use has cost them their job or a future job. I have no problem with what someone posts on a social media site as long as they can defend what they put up there and stand beside it.
    On the other hand, the best policy with social media is to be smart and when in doubt, don’t post it.

  7. When posting on Facebook, Twitter, and other websites, I always remember that what I put online will be there forever. This helps me weed out the appropriate, insensitive, and downright stupid things I may have a fleeting wish to post online. Social websites are a great place to have a presence, but I agree with Olivia when she says to remain vigilant. Just be weary of what you post online, because it’ll always be there.

  8. With so much malice out on the web, it seems nearly impossible to protect yourself and your accounts on the Internet. Hopefully, though, nice guys will finish last, and hackers will focus their energy and talent toward more positive issues.

  9. I also make sure to think about what I post online. I run things through in my head to make sure nothing can be twisted around and blown out of proportion. I am amazed at what some people put on Facebook and always wonder how and if the pictures or posts will affect them later in life. We read about the consequences of not protecting social media, and it would be a shame to be fired or mistreated for something that could have been prevented by one click.

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