We’re going to look at how to use social media as an individual, in the context of the risks and the opportunities.
Here’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve found on how to behave as an individual on Social Media. It was written for medical professionals but works just as well for all people. I’ve taken it apart to look at each of the six pieces of advice, and as it seems rather negative, provided six positive alternatives.
Always a good idea not to lie, but online lies can be so easily found out by using search. So rather than lying, tell the truth whenever you can, or don’t say anything.
Instead, Online, you should Be yourself. And if you can’t be completely anonymous. But •no-one can be completely anonymous… it usually backfires. Anonymity on social media is pretty much a myth. There is no such thing as an anonymous account. I’m often asked about anonymous accounts on twitter, because it seems that people can be anonymous there in ways they can’t easily on Facebook, or Linkedin. To be truly anonymous on twitter you need a completely anonymous name and username, a proxy internet connection, disabled geo-location, and only tweet from a masked IP address. Then you need to not say anything that in any shape or form will identify you. When it comes to social media, it is much easier and better to be yourself online. In fact, I think it’s a positive characteristic of social media that people tend to be themselves.
One of my abiding memories of my childhood was Kaa, the snake in the Jungle Book. Kaa hypnotises Mowgli and sends him off to sleep in order to have him for dinner. I’ve never liked hypnotists! Remember that people like their personal space, and they like their privacy. When having conversations online respect other people’s privacy. They will offer information if they want to. Don’t send people unsolicited private messages. This is spam and can get you blocked. If you want to make a conversation private, take it offline.
If you’re using social media, you need to Protect your privacy and your private information online. Assume that everything you share online is searchable, so don’t share things that you don’t want known. You should also check and adjust the privacy settings of all the platforms you use.
Here are some guidelines for checking your privacy settings on Facebook. I’ll be sharing these slides after the event so you’ll be able to follow along with the advice when you have a chance, no need to take copious notes now. We need to look at several things;Your friends General privacy settings Protecting Personal Information Changing the visibility of your content and updates Photography Privacy and Content shared on other people’s timelines.
Check your Friends list. Are they really your friends? Only ‘friend’ people on Facebook you trust. They can tag you in posts and photographs. I use different lists to identify particular friend types such as ‘close friends’ and ‘Family’. But Don’t friend people you don’t trust.
Adjust your general settings by choosing ‘Settings’ from the cog at the top right
Then choose ‘Privacy from the menu on the left.
Limit who can see your future posts to your friends, or close friends if you wish. Choose who can send you requests, messages and who can look up your email address on Facebook here. Choose if search engines can find content on your timeline.
Then choose ‘Timeline and Tagging’ from the menu on the left of your settings
Turn on ‘Review Posts friends tag you in before they appear in your timeline’ Turn on Review tags people add to your posts
Next you need to adjust the privacy of your personal information. See this on the ‘About’ page from your profile. Each section has adjustable visibility. Don’t share any information on Facebook you don’t want in the public domain. Decide if you want to be found or not.
Fourthly you need to look at the privacy of your content updates When you post an update on Facebook you can choose who can see it by choosing from the dropdown menu. The choice defaults until next time you use it. I try and only share with Friends and limit my friends. I also have a ‘Close Friends’ list I sometimes use. You can also change this setting retrospectively, and change all past settings via the General Privacy Settings in one go.
You can set privacy settings on albums of photos and on individual photos. When you make an album you can change the privacy of the whole album. Or you can edit the privacy of individual photos when you update them – see the cog on the albums page here.
Lastly when you comment on or like the content on other people’s timelines, the privacy settings are determined by that user. See them when you comment or review them in your Activity Log;
Where you can edit the privacy of your own posts but also see the visibility of other people’s posts you’ve liked or commented on. Don’t like stuff you don’t want shared public, if the author has made it public. Think about what you like and comment upon!
Here’s a man I found because I was auditing a company (a competitor of one of my clients). He states on his FB page he works for that company (and I verified that elsewhere). He also posted several racist posts on his facebook page, with public visibility. Be aware that what you post, if associated with you, can be associated with your role in a company. This could be interpreted as bringing the company you work for into disrepute, even at a future date. It will certainly make it a lot more difficult to get a job in future. Don’t forget that other people can find what you’ve written, right back into the past.
Here are some short links to help pages for privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google Plus. Think about all the platforms you use, and use them wisely.
So next step – don’t Cheat. There isn’t a short cut to a large network. Don’t attempt to game the system, buy followers, get rich quick. This includes trying to connect to people on Linkedin who don’t know you, or endorsing people you don’t know for skills you don’t know if they have.
Watch out for Cheats Check out other people’s credibility, or the credibility of what they say using search. Expose cheats in public, and if you’re not confident in doing this, work with others behind the scenes. Don’t handle it alone if you don’t have to. If you get private messages offering you things that are too good to be true, or sharing a link that takes you to a sign in page, its Phishing. The person who sent you the message probably doesn’t know – go and check if they’ve posted. Don’t sign in, Inform the user publically and they can take steps to remove the hacker from their account. If someone is harassing or threatening you, block them and report them to the site administrator – Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook all have blocking and reporting procedures now.
Anything published online can easily be captured before you delete it. Google will cache once its spiders have reached your site, but more importantly, people can favourite your tweet and then it can’t be deleted. Anyone can take a screenshot of what you share online. Apps like Snapchat which imply that they delete images after a few seconds don’t delete the images from their system. The internet passes data from computer to computer, unencrypted data can be found. Freedom of expression doesn’t mean freedom from the consequences. So before you put something online,
Think twice, you’ll only need to post once. Have a thick skin, don’t react quickly, take a deep breath. Ask yourself – For whom am I posting this? Is it for my target audience?Is it appropriate to all ages? Does it add value to the conversation?Would I be happy for my mother to see it?
And don’t steal. Don’t pass someone else’s work off as your own. Don’t lift someone else’s content – you’ll be found out. When I was working in an architects office in Ipswich, another person sent in a job application with CV which had a great frontis page. Unfortunately he wasn’t aware that the person who had produced that frontis page worked for us, so we knew it was stolen. It’s a small world and the internet makes it even smaller. Instead, learn about the culture of attribution that exists online. Its what makes blogs work to drive traffic to your website, through the use of backlinks. All the images I’m using today are Creative Commons – that is they are made available by the owners on a license if I credit them – hence the links on each slide.
Instead, build a reputation for yourself as a trustworthy individual. Use the system to differentiate yourself in your areas of specialism. Talk about what you want people to ask you about.
And lastly, don’t reveal. This is one of my favourite signs – there is one in North Essex where I live too. Don’t disclose confidential information on social platforms. Not yours, Not your friends’, Not your employer’s You can choose what you share, make wise choices.
This is a photograph I took whilst I was at an internal product launch in Paris for one of my clients. At the time I took the photograph (which was permitted) the products were not publically launched, so I did not share it. I share a lot of photographs, but I choose which ones I share. Make wise choices, you can always do it later when the time is right.
The most important thing you can keep secret is your passwords. How many of you use the same password for more than one website? Get a password manager. This is what I use, its called LastPass. It creates very secure passwords and stores them very securely. You then only need one to get in your vault, but it can be a very secure, yet easy to remember one (mine is two film titles back to back, with spaces). Lastpass also teaches you good password management, and on a browser it is free.
So to conclude, here are my positive pieces of advice. Be yourself – don’t lie Protect your privacy – and respect others Look out for Cheats – and don’t cheat yourself Think Twice before you post – because you can’t delete Be a Trustworthy individual – and people will seek you out Keep secrets – including your passwords – safe.
Safe and Sensible: How to Behave Professionally Online
How to Behave
Source: Farris Timimi, Mayo Clinic mattimattila