The New York Times recently had an interesting article on how anonymity is disappearing thanks to the Internet. It’s a paradox. People can log on and make scathing comments on a site, all while hiding behind their anonymity. Yet, a person who has never even touched a computer can find things they’ve said and pictures of themselves splashed across the Web.
The subway rider in NY who argued with the conducter, stating how “well educated” she was last Tuesday was identified from the uploaded YouTube video in no time.
Anthony Weiner and his, ah, penpals discovered just how quickly details they thought were private can become public.
Some of the people who set fire to cars and looted businesses after Vancouver lost the Stanley Cup playoffs were identified from pictures posted online.
Billionaire Wang Gongquan, an investor in China, announced to the world that he was leaving his wife via China’s equivilant of Twitter, Sina Weibo. Mr. Gongquan writes, “I am giving up everything and eloping with Wang Qin. I feel ashamed and so am leaving without saying goodbye. I kneel down and beg forgiveness!”
It all makes you wonder.
None of these are remarkable stories in and of themselves. I mean, people using social media in stupid ways isn’t anything new. We see this kind of thing often. But these days, even if we aren’t using social media irresponsibly, we could still be affected by others who do. So here are a few reminders of how not to use social media and how to protect yourself from unwanted exposure.
What are your rules for using social media wisely?
“Hey ladies, I’m single & ready to party!” 1 of 10It's generally not a good idea to use social media as a way of breaking up with your significant other. No one wants to login to Twitter only to see a thousand people discussing your break-up; the break-up you didn't even know about. Remember, if you change your Facebook status from "in a relationship" to "single" without informing your wife first, she may retaliate by posting and tagging those pictures of you that she took that one night when you were passed out drunk. Yeah, THOSE pictures.
“My boss is an idiot & I’m pretty sure he hasn’t brushed his teeth since 1978.” 2 of 10If you send a tweet like that, be prepared to get a pink slip like this - "You're fired. I'd tell you to your face, but I don't want to knock you out with my 'unbrushed teeth' breath. "
“I’m sorry, but Grammie died.” 3 of 10Letting your loved ones know about a death in the family is not something you want to do via social media. Grammie would roll over in her grave if she knew you did this.
“Dude, I knocked off a liquor store last night!” 4 of 10Bragging to the world that you just committed a crime will likely land you in prison. But more importantly, it'll land you in the gallery of "Dumbest Crooks of All Time". It's simply not a good idea to admit to any wrong-doing online.
“Devestation in #Japan cuz they’re scrambling to get to our HUGE sale http://blahblahblah” 5 of 10Using the hashtag of a trending topic to promote your company/goods/services is unethical, as designer Kenneth Cole learned in February while taking advantage of the upheaval in Egypt to promote their clothing line.
“Whatcha wearing?” 6 of 10You should never use social media to send naughty pictures of yourself, solicit sex, or otherwise be creepy and perverted, as politicians so kindly remind us every day. Even sending risque texts to your spouse to spice things up can backfire if you accidentally hit "Pastor William" which is right next to your husband "Paul" in your phone.
“I’mm, do drumkjnk” 7 of 10You should never text, tweet, or update your Facebook status while drunk, mainly because it's not easy to translate those drunken messages the next day. If you cannot squelch the urge to communicate with someone while drunk, I implore you to drunk dial your ex, random person, or 1-800-EMPIRE guy and simply talk to them so there's no written record of your stupidity.
If you wouldn’t say it in person… 8 of 10Then you shouldn't say it via social media. Yes, maybe the PTA president's cookies taste like sewage & skunk, but do you really want it known that you said that? If you don't want something coming back to bite you in the butt, then you should think twice before putting it out there on the www.
Teach your kids. 9 of 10Make sure your kids know how to use social media wisely. Teach them about cyber bullying, the consequences of sharing too much information, and how once something is "out there", it's out there for good. Companies and colleges look at your social footprint.
Read all about it! 10 of 10Follow these rules unless, of course, you're just looking for a way to get your name in the news. If you want to read a negtive blog post about yourself, by all means, ignore this advice. Otherwise, use common sense when it comes to social media tools.
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