What exactly is considered private when it comes to social media and social networking? Since becoming involved in social media about a year and a half ago I have been a little astonished at what people share about themselves. MySpace has been the social networking website where both men and woman pushed the limits on how much skin is showed in uploaded pic’s. Seems like Facebook has surpassed MySpace with lack of clothing pic’s due to the shear number of users 465,564,340 (via http://www.checkfacebook.com/) and the numerous men and women in their undies, bikinis, or less.
I am not a prude and am not against girl’s in bikinis (not into guys in underwear), but there seems to be a lack of modesty and forethought when it comes to information (pics, videos, crazy status updates) being placed on social networking sites. Once information is placed on the web, you should assume it will live on the web forever, yes forever. People can save any images or text with a simple right click of a mouse and don’t assume because your privacy settings are set on Facebook or other social networking sites that any of your risque information won’t show up on the web (so called friends can share your information).
Another security/privacy issue to be considered while participating in social media/social networking is GPS location services. Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, and most other social networking sites allow you to provide your GPS location. As a retired police officer I do not think this is the best of ideas for personal security reasons. There are websites like pleaserobme.com that are placing your GPS locations on their website once caught off the web from status updates along with the fact that you are not home encouraging criminal activity or at your residence i.e: burglary because you are most likely not at home.
Below are 5 common sense tips on how to prevent from unwanted privacy intrusions:
1) Don’t share naked pictures of yourself unless you are ready for the consequences – Hmm, what will my parents or kids think?
2) Don’t put anything into a status update you don’t want recirculated on the web – My boss John Doe is a #$%^.
3) Ladies turn off your GPS notifications from all social networking sites so you are not advertising that you are alone at a bar at 2am – There are creepers on the web you know.
4) Don’t always trust a picture of an individual on a social networking site because they are attractive – Things are not always as they appear.
5) Don’t list your cell phone number on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social networking website if you don’t want your privacy invaded – Ladies really, weirdos will call you.
As social media continues to change our culture our definition of privacy seems to also be changing. What was private 5 years ago is now a profile picture on Facebook or a status update on Twitter that potentially millions of people can see. I am not throwing rocks from my glass house as I have violated my own common sense rules a time or two, but consider your privacy current or future when participating in social media and social networking sites. Mike Vallez, http://www.michaelvallez.com