We can’t take online privacy for granted. Just because a social network has a password, doesn’t mean it’s private. If you’re going to post risque photos on Facebook or tell the world of your Saturday night conquests, keep in mind that your actions could come back to haunt you. Everything online has the potential to go viral, even if it’s password protected. Irresponsible online behavior can contribute to the loss of a job or even a marriage. So before you start griping about how Facebook or Foursquareisn’t doing enough to keep your intimate details private, consider that intimate details should remain intimate and if the world finds you posing in a provocative manner, it’s not the fault of a social network.
Don’t rely on your password for online privacy, make good decisions
1. Your kids might be paying attention
Besides the embarrassing case of Pervy Dad, it’s good to remember that most things that are online have the potential to be online forever. So if you posed nude, wrote something inappropriate or posted your college party pictures online, there may come a time when you disappoint the people who look up to you the most.
2. H.R. people
It’s no secret representatives for human resources are checking online to learn more about job candidates. They’re looking beyond LinkedIn, too. If you badmouthed a past employer on your blog or leaked confidential information on Twitter, there’s a good chance they can get ahold of it and you might be out of a gig. Moreover, employers continue to research their employees long after the hiring phase. If you’re behaving in a manner that can be seen as an embarrassment to the brand, it could be terms for dismissal.
Divorce and criminal attorneys are using the social networks as a way to keep tabs on the other party. If you’re on parole but post pictures of your gun collection, it could come back to harm you. If you’re getting a divorce but post pictures dated two years ago of the guy you’ve been cheating with, it could come back to haunt you. If you claim to have no money for child support but your Facebook is filled with images of your recent trip to Hawaii, it could come back to haunt you. Just keep in mind that everything you post online has the potential to reach the wrong (and sometimes the right )hands.
The loonies are everywhere. So if you’re Foursquaring your home address or giving out the location of your child’s school, you might be setting yourself up for an unfortunate stalking incident. If you’re giving out Too Much Information, consider how many people will have access to said info.
5. Your Image
Everything you do online contributes to your image. How you choose to control your image is up to you. If you spend your online time bashing and cursing, this is how people will see you. If you point fingers and bad mouth, this is how people will remember you. Negativity gets more attention, but is it the kind you want? Always consider your image – now and in the future.
Just because you have to enter a password to use a social network, forum or comment on a blog, doesn’t mean your information is protected. It’s not up to Facebook to protect your privacy, it’s up to you. If you’re worried about people viewing your photos or being privy to your discussions, don’t post it. Otherwise, consider that everything, no matter how private or protected you feel it is, is viewable to the public.