Social media. The majority of us use a form of it, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Google+, blogs, or one of the many other social media options.
As people, we are naturally sociable, which is one of the reasons why social media has become part of our normal, everyday lives.
However, if you are looking to be involved in a campus organization that looks for potential members of high quality or if you are about to enter the job world, there are risks involved with using social media that we are not always aware of. That is why it is important to be cautious about what you post about yourself on the internet.
In order to avoid these risks here are few words of advice:
1. Be careful about what pictures you post and those in which you are tagged. Sure, that wild night out with your friends was fun. But, those pictures of that wild night out might come back to haunt you. Nothing about an alcohol infested photo says “quality potential new member of our organization” or “responsible adult.” Even though those photos may not accurately represent who you are and what you can accomplish in a campus organization or job, people will still judge you for it, especially if they have never met you in person.
2. Protect yourself from creepers. This means know the people you add as friends or followers and set your privacy settings for certain individuals. Some social media outlets are better than others at allowing separate privacy settings for each person you add to your site. Educate yourself about each site’s privacy settings to keep yourself from getting creeped on. It will prevent those awkward conversations you have with people who seem to know everything about your life because of Facebook even though you have not actually met them in person before. Avoid that situation. Limit how much of your profile they can see.
3. Be aware of the words you post. Not everyone is going to understand that joke you post on someone’s wall or that sarcastic status update. The people who know and understand you will get it, but outsiders will not. And that could cost you membership to an organization, an internship or your first real job after graduation.
Negativity will not get you far, either. Speaking poorly of yourself or others could harm your own reputation. If you feel the need to say something, just be aware of who may be able to see it.
4. Do not click on those random links people send you. We have all seen them. The links that say something along the lines of “Oh my gosh, is this really you in this video?” Then the link is attached underneath. Ask the person who sent it to you what it is before you click on it. If you do not take precautions, your account could be hacked. Then inappropriate messages from your username could start going out to everyone. No one knows it is not you sending these messages out and your reputation could get hurt. It takes five more seconds than usual to confirm whether it is a real link or not, and those five seconds spent confirming it are worth not getting hacked.
So, just be cautious about what you post and click on. Take a step back and think about what you want to post before you post it. If you take just a few precautions, you could prevent a lot of trouble.