For most of us, social media is more than a networking tool. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are some of the most visited websites and apps around, and for good reason: they’ve changed the way we communicate, connect with one another, get our news, and even shop. What started out as an enhancement to our personal lives has now turned into a facet, or even a driving force, of many of our professional lives.
While some may have the luxury of a social media sabbatical, even more of us find ourselves rarely being able to look away, not to mention log out entirely. Spending so much time in cyberspace can open us up to everything from internet trolls to identity thieves, so we’ve put together some best practices for protecting yourself on social media while still using it.
Check Your Privacy Settings
How many times have we “agreed” to what seems like a thousand-page document without reading it? We’re not suggesting you should read each word, but you should familiarize yourself with the site’s privacy settings, specifically those areas that state they’ll share your information with third parties. With the migration of social networking sites to for-profit businesses, they make big bucks tracking what ads you react to, the sites you visit, and even simple “likes.” At the very least, change the default settings and keep track of security and privacy check-ups.
Consider Turning off Location Services
Don’t want to give Facebook a digital roadmap of your entire day? That’s exactly what location services are doing when left on. Sometimes we just have to see if the office supply store down the street has the specific mailing labels we need, and that’s when this feature comes in handy. Most apps have a component that allows you to use these trackers only while using the app itself; just make sure you swipe up and close the app when you’ve finished with it.
Be Aware of When You Post
Just because we have the ability to post anytime and from anywhere doesn’t mean we should. If you want to share about the incredible trip you just took or that amazing meal you just had, consider snapping a pic in the moment and posting later. This concept of the “latergram” not only helps you stay present for the occasion but doesn’t announce to the entire internet where you are and when.
Social media should be just that: social! We all enjoy the opportunity to stay connected with friends near and far, and if it helps us expand our business, we are here for it! With great power comes great responsibility, and it’s important we understand and avoid the pitfalls of the dreaded overshare while giving the people we’re with the gift of our undivided attention. After all, nothing replaces the original face time.