An argument can be made that we share far too much of our personal information on social media sites; from photographs on Facebook, to posting Twitter messages to the wrong people, it can be easy to let on too much about on your private life. You never know who can see your content, or where it may end up, with worst case scenarios ranging from viruses to identity theft, as well as embarrassment and even sackings in work. So, then, in what ways are we sharing too much information online, and how can we be safer in protecting the information that we do share?
A recent survey suggests that the rate by which information online is expanded cannot keep up with security measures; this means that more and more people are uploading private content that can be accessed through public sites. In this way, the freedoms and accessibility provided by the Internet, and the ease by which we can post content to social networks from our phones and computers, means that we can forget about basic security measures.
This survey into social media sharing, which was carried out by White Hat Media, indicates that many people admit guilt or regret about what they put up online. The problems faced by users, in this context, include not being able to take back what they’ve posted – one re-tweet or screen shot, and you’re stuck with something embarrassing. At the same time, many people are sharing information about work stresses, and not realizing that their boss may be on their contact list.
In terms of wider dangers, shared information on social networks can lead to spam mail, as well as the risk of accidentally downloading viruses, or having your IP address get picked up by someone else. Children are particularly vulnerable to sending out personal information, while some dating websites can end up hosting personal data that can be used against you. Again, you can’t always know where your information will end up, and even whether it’s truly gone after you’ve deleted it.
How, then, can you make your information safer online? First, switch from default securing settings to customised versions on sites like Facebook, and always check terms and conditions before registering a social profile. Moreover, think about who can see what you post when you are online, and regularly check your friends lists for anyone that you’re no longer comfortable with seeing your information.
With smart-phones, check encryption settings, and never give out any sensitive information or passwords on an unsecured connection. In the same way, it’s important to not give details of your social networking profiles to friends or family, even if you do trust them – information can still end up in the wrong hands, and can be very difficult to trace once it has been released. Always being aware of what sites you’re on, and not posting or using social networks when drunk or angry with someone is also a good idea if you want to avoid embarrassing slip ups in the future. You can also get many online professional marketers such as Newcastle digital agency for helping you out on how to improve your website socially.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Dean Meyers