Your Facebook friends list could include everyone from mom’s cousins to former high school teachers to co-workers. When you post something to social media, you really need to consider your audience before you click “share.” While we love sharing the details of great vacations and the exciting accomplishments of our kids, we can be lulled into sharing too much or too often. How do you know when you’re over-sharing? Here are some common mistakes you may be making on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Beware of the over-share. Try to limit yourself to funny or interesting topics, such as goofy stuff your kids say or something unusual that happened to you on your drive to work, and people respond positively. If it isn’t remarkable enough that you would remember to tell your friend about it three days from now, skip posting or tweeting about it. In a recent survey, 90% of US adults polled thought that other people divulged too much online, and their biggest pet peeve was “constant complaining.”
It’s vitally important that you respect the privacy of others – and consider your own – when you post. The phrase “Too Much Information” (TMI) exists for a reason! Please refrain from posting the gory details of your latest doctor’s appointment, or the fact that you’re visiting your parole officer today. It’s also best to avoid posting about disagreements with loved ones, or things you think might embarrass them. No one likes being publicly shamed.
Inappropriate photos. Remember the golden rule of the Internet: once you post something, it’s out there forever. Embarrassing photos, whether they’re of your own kids, a friend, or even of yourself, will be floating around cyber space forever and could come back to haunt. Your loved ones won’t appreciate you using them for likes or anonymous social approval. Gross pictures like your kid’s latest potty training success – just ewww. Please don’t. Explicit photos of you or anyone else may just end up in the hands of a future employer.
Special “no post” rules apply to parents. First, don’t post pictures of other peoples’ kids without their express permission. Everyone has their own comfort level with social media and you need to respect their privacy. As adorable as your kids’ little naked bottoms are, nude photos of your little ones can get into the wrong hands. Pictures that include your child’s full name should have the name blurred or cropped before sharing; and don’t post pictures that identify the school that your child attends.
Listing your email address, phone number or other physical address in a post. While this may seem like an obvious no-no, you may be inadvertently sharing personal information. Geo-tagging photos on Instagram can expose your home, work or school address. Sharing photos that include a street name or addresses in the image (standing in front of your apartment building, for example) can give people more information than you want them to have. Friends “checking in” at your house on Facebook can post your physical address.
Forgetting to limit who sees your posts. Facebook’s default privacy setting is “Friends of Friends.” Remember to change this to “Friends Only” and make sure all individual posts default to the “Friends” setting (check below the post) as well. You have control over whom you let into your little Facebook circle, but you don’t have control over other people’s friends.
Also, your privacy settings allow you to approve every post you’re tagged in. This prevents someone from posting an inappropriate photo to your personal page without your knowledge. Make sure you scan through photos you’re tagged in and remove your tag from anything that is set to the privacy level of “Public,” especially if it’s something unflattering.
Scan through your friends list once a year or so to make sure you remember whom you’re sharing with, and to remove people you don’t want to inadvertently “over share” with.
Vacation details to more than close friends. Posting your favorite pictures from the vacation you took last week is probably okay for all your contacts, but do you really want to broadcast your plan to leave your home unattended to the world before you leave? Don’t post your itinerary or your flight details. If you must share a picture of a ticket or a flight confirmation, limit the post to those friends you’ve identified as “family,” or “close friend,” or better yet, send the info in a private message.
Credit card or financial information. This one seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised. People do it! There’s actually a bunch of examples of people posting pictures of their credit cards at https://twitter.com/needadebitcard. Especially on a forum like Instagram and Twitter where people re-share images all the time, it’s a one-way ticket to credit card fraud. Don’t share any information about where you bank or invest your money. It can give thieves a head start on hijacking your accounts. Documents with personal information, such as your passport, driver’s license or social security card are a huge no-no as well.
Lastly, to find out if your over-sharing is putting you at risk, check out “Please Rob Me” at http://pleaserobme.com/. Enter your Twitter username and the site will merge your Twitter and Four Square history to tell you what is easily available to the public about your whereabouts.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community