Social media is great. It allows us to keep in contact with old friends, and also meet new friends and engage with them. However, there is a darker side of social media, and networking online, that most people aren’t aware of, or choose to ignore.
It’s important to address some of the dangers of social networking, so you can keep yourself, and your friends, safe. It will also help you keep your personal brand intact. You don’t want silly posts on your online profiles tarnishing your personal brand.
Here are three things to keep in mind:
1. You are in a crowded room online
You may be posting from the safety of your own home, maybe dressed in pajamas and sitting on your bed. You feel alone, but when you post online, you are not alone anymore. You are in a crowded room, full of people, and most of them are strangers.
Think about the posts you’re broadcasting online. Will you be embarrassed to share that photo, or comment about your life, to a room full of strangers? If your answer is ‘yes’, then you probably shouldn’t share it online either.
2. The internet is not as secure as you think
Everything you post online is stored somewhere. Sometimes, even after you’ve deleted something, a record of it still exists on someone else’s system. This is not to scare you, but to encourage you to think twice before posting online.
For example, that nasty comment about your teacher could get you into legal trouble, where you could be sued for defamation. This actually happened to a young man in Australia.
3. There is no such thing as privacy online
To use the crowded room example again, we are not alone when we post online, even if we’re alone in our rooms. Check the privacy settings on your online profiles, and make sure they are secure. However, sometimes even this is not enough, so think before you post.
For example, if you’re away on vacation, you may be tempted to share holiday photos while you’re there, but this is almost like giving a stranger the keys to your house because you are letting them know that you are not home. Take those lovely holiday photos, but wait until you come back to upload them.
So, be aware of the dangers of networking online, and keep yourself and your personal brand safe. Put your best foot forward because first impressions count.