Protecting Your Social Media Image

Social media has become the most common way that people communicate with friends, family, and colleagues. The Pew Research Center reported recently that 74% of adults use sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Tumblr and Pinterest.

If you went in for a job or college admissions interview and were asked to log into your social media accounts so that the interviewer could access them, you would likely be outraged, feel violated. Yet failing to set the proper security settings in your accounts, or sharing private information in a public venue is tantamount to allowing outsiders to view whatever you post.

Protect Yourself

Do not assume that information you post online is confidential between you and the sender or you and your closest friends and family. Messages and images that you think you are privately can easily become public. It is important to exercise caution and, at a minimum, follow these social media tips:

· Privacy and security settings – All social media accounts offer users privacy setting options that can help limit who can view the information that is being posted to your account. Set your accounts to “private” to help ensure optimal security.

· Know and manage your friends – Making your account “Private” is effective only if you manage your “friends.” Approve as friends only those you know and trust because once friended, these people are granted access to view what you post.

· Not entirely private – Although these privacy settings can be beneficial, it is important to keep in mind that they don’t guarantee complete protection.

· Once online, always online – Once something is posted online - even if later deleted - it can still be accessible in certain situations, or live on if it was copied or shared before being deleted.

· Posting on Public Sites is not private – If you comment on a company’s site or Facebook page or on a blog, your posts are most likely not private.

· Your online image is your public image – Protect your online image by posting only information that you would want to share publically.

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