Privacy in Social Media

Posted by John H. Heinrichs

Feb 5

Privacy In Social Media: Not So Confined

Social Send emailmedia is such a large part of our lives today, many people find themselves posting, tweeting and sharing on a daily basis.  In this day and age, social media is used in an abundance of ways.  Whether it’s sharing pictures, keeping up with friends or just as a platform to vent, social media is an integral part of our society.  Just like any other societal component, we want to make sure it is protected and that we can control our own usage.  Unfortunately this is largely not the case.  What really happens when you click send?  When your information is deleted or your account is deactivated, where does your information go?  That’s right, you guessed it!  It stays right there on the good old World Wide Web.  The internet is such an amazing system and does a lot of good, but there are also some bad things that we should be leery of when using the internet mainly social media. 

Control Your Experience

Privacy is a big concern to many users and most of us want to know what happens to our information once it is on the web.  The answer is it stays there for an indeterminate amount of time.  Once your information is put on the web there is no telling where it goes and who has access to it.  If you delete something you post on social media, it is just deleted from your page but it still very much exists in the context of the web.  If something is posted online for just seconds, there is no way to know how many people have seen it, copied it, or saved it for themselves.  They don’t call it the informational superhighway for nothing.  Any information put out on the web is available for everyone with internet access to see.  When you use the internet or social media there is never any real privacy, but if you’re worried about the safety of the things you put online here are a few tips on how to be a smart social media user. 

5 Tips on Social Media Usage

  1. Check and Pay Atention to Your Privacy Settings.  Privacy settings are put on social media websites for a reason.  Make sure you understand your sites privacy settings and exactly what information is being shown on your profile.  Know who can see your profile and what information you want to share with everyone and what information you want to be limited to friends and followers.
  2. Be Mindful of What You Post!  Just because your profile is private, protected or limited to just your friends, doesn’t mean it cannot be shared on social media.  Pictures and text can be copied, screen shot or pilfered in a number of high-tech ways.  So if there is something that you don’t want everyone to see, it’s probably smart not to post it on social media all together.
  3. Only Associate With Reputable Characters. On social media sites there are millions of users.  Some people are scamming, others are legitimite users.  Make sure you know the difference.  Only befriend or follow people and businesses on social media that you are familiar with.  This will reduce the chance that your information will be spread and end up in the wrong hands.
  4. Limit PI. Meaning limit the personal information that you share on social media.  Try not to post your location on social media and never ever share information such as your birth date, SSN or address.
  5. If You Do Not Want Everyone To See It, Do Not Post It. Even when you know your privacy settings and what information is being shared on your social media profile, you still need to be cognizant of the fact that once you hit send you are no longer in control of that content and it could end up anywhere.

Visualization is Key

The chart below shows the increase in social media usage over the last 7 years by age group, this is proof that more people are using social media and through this use we need to understand how to safeguard private information.


Solution to Privacy Dilemma

Social media is a fun place to stay connected and chat with friends but stop putting all your business out there for the world to see.  Think of social media as a platform for connectivity, not a place to store your private information.  Think of it in terms speaking, if you’re not comfortable with a random person on the street hearing what you have to say, don’t speak it.  The same is true for social media.  If you’re not comfortable with a random person seeing what you post, don’t post it. 

(All accolades and credit for this tremendous blog post are for Eniss Garnett who is the author and content creator.)

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