The Modern Day “Here’s Lookin’ at YOU, Kid”

While driving to an appointment this afternoon, I heard an interesting interview on the radio that really got me thinking.  Like many people, maybe like YOU, I tinker with social media. I have a Facebook account and a Linked-in account, and I have a Twitter account as well.   But what caught my attention, however, is how easily we can put ourselves at risk without ever realizing it.  So I thought there were tips on that radio interview well worth passing along...we all want to be social...but let's be SMART about it too!

TIP #1

You don't always have control over who is reading the things you write.  As I recall, some months ago subscribers to one of the major social networks (as I recall, it was Facebook) discovered that their "privileges" had been compromised and some information they had deemed "private" had become, at least for a period of time, public domain.  To protect yourself, DO NOT put anything on a social networking site that you don't ever want to be made public.

TIP #2social_networking

NEVER disclose really confidential your actual date of birth (including year) or your social security number.  Best also to avoid using things like your mother's maiden name.

TIP #3

Avoid using readily accessible information for your passwords.  For example, many people will use a pet's name or their own nickname or their birthday as their passwords.  Those are all BIG NO-NOS.


Be creative in designing your passwords.  For example, select combinations of letters, numbers, symbols, and upper/lower case that are easy for you to remember, but very difficult for someone else to figure out.  You might try a simple phrase that has meaning to you, like "I always wanted to be 7' tall"... to create "Iaw2b7't".  It includes Upper case, Lower case, Numbers, and a symbol...making it much more difficult a code to break.

TIP #4

While some of the visitors to your page are surely your friends, remember that social networks are a great source of "evidence" for officials trying to uncover wrong-doing.  For example, best not to brag that you just went on a great cruise with the money you won at a poker game.  That's the sort of thing you might NOT want certain eyes to see.

TIP #5

While it's great fun to keep the chatter going and occasionally to "vent"...what you put online can easily take on a life of its own!  Words have consequences....choose carefully.  Have you ever SAID something to someone else and then later thought "gee, I wish I hadn't said that" or "I should have chosen my words more carefully" or "but that's not REALLY what I meant"?  Well, "saying" in online has a MUCH LARGER audience.  That makes it much more difficult to "take back" something said in anger, or haste, or without putting in context.

I've often heard it said that email is such a flat facial expressions, no voice inflections, no body language to help put "words" into proper context. And emails are generally exchanged with only a few people at a time.  But in social networking, what you say (even if it is MISUNDERSTOOD, taken out of context, or whatever) can go viral in minutes!

Here's an example I love to make the point.  Take a simple question...EXACTLY the same words...but with different emphasis, and look how DIFFERENT each version of that sentence is interpreted:

  • Are YOU still beating your wife?  (Or is someone else beating her?)
  • Are you STILL beating your wife?  (Or have you stopped?)
  • Are you still BEATING your wife?  (Or are you now doing something else to her?)
  • Are you still beating YOUR wife?  (Or have you moved on to beating someone else's wife?)
  • Are you still beating your WIFE?  (Or are you now beating your kids or your mom instead?)

I love what the English language can do!!!  I hate, though, when I get tripped up and somehow phrase something in a way that's easy to misunderstand!  Hope you have better luck in that department than I do!

What do YOU think?  Do you have any more Tips for Social Networking???  Bring 'em on!