The internet should be used as an important resource and being familiar with it is a necessary skill. Social networking now forms part of everyday life but, it is important to remember the dangers of social networking and what you can do to keep your personal information and safety at bay.
There are solid reasons why Facebook doesn’t allow underage profile accounts. Generally children under the age of 13 and in some jurisdictions even older children are not allowed to have accounts and reporting of them will cause for them to be deleted serving in the best interest of the account holder.
Facebook has more personal information about you than any other social network.
So, what can you do to protect yourself and still appear in search?
• Always ensure your privacy settings are set to your friends or connections only. Don’t leave your privacy settings on public. This means anyone in the world can see what you are doing.
• Do not accept friend or connection requests from people you do not know just to grow your personal network.
• If someone has sent you a friend request just because you have friends in common with them first check with your friend in common how well they actually know that person.
• Don’t tell everyone where you are all the time in your status posts or tweets. Be wiser and if you absolutely have to that is fine but skip the
extra detail and don’t do it too often. At least make it appear that you are out within a big crowd.
• Never display your home or work address and never display your contact number. If people are truly your friends and business connections they will have your number or ask for it in the appropriate setting.
• Review your current friends list and see who you are connected to in a new unit of time. Unfriend those who upon closer inspection seem unsavoury to you and who you actually do not engage with at all. It’s not about the number of friends but the quality of friends you have.
Spot a fake account for what it is. Most fake accounts are well thought of and look almost normal but there are identifiying factors that should raise red flags. Here are 11 points to look out for.
- The profile image looks like a model from a magazine (almost too perfect)
- Most of their photo albums are of different people and you cannot see a similar matching photo to their profile photo.
- The profile doesn’t have a profile image at all.
- The persons place of work is not visible or it has a strange company name or place of study.
- Their likes and interests on their profile are too few or seem weird.
- Their friends count is low.
- The account was recently opened, check their timeline to see when they started using Facebook.
- Their friends list is not visible at all.
- If their friends list is visible, check the friends they are currently connected to.
- Don’t respond if someone sends you a personal message requesting to be friends with you that you do not know especially with no actual friend request pending.
- Impersonation of a well-known business person or celebrity. Just think, would Richard Branson, Donald Trump, David Beckham, Oprah or Madonna send you a friend request?
Generally the same security points apply network dependant.
You would want to appear in search for professional networking and opportunities but, before you accept any requests to connect ensure you check out the persons profile first. Applying logics will serve you well and if you don’t like what you see for whatever reason, follow your instinct and ignore the request. Also take a look at your current Linkedin settings and check what you can do to improve your safety.
Social Media is about being transparent and dependant of your strategy for use but be cautious of just how much information you share if you want to keep your profile open to the public especially for business use. If you already have an established community of followers turn your profile onto “protected tweets” which won’t be available to the general public only your community. And, if anyone else wants to follow you, a notification will be sent to you and you can decide if you want to allow them into your Twitter community or not.
Educate your children and family about the dangers of social networking, sometimes the obvious is not so obvious at the time.
Enjoy your experiences but be safe!
Blog by Daniela Bascelli (Social Media and Digital Marketing Strategist | Trainer at Onyx Digital Team). Follow Daniela on Twitter: @danielabascelli and follow the team @onyxdigitalteam. For more information on our upcoming social media training and service offerings, please contact us.