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The Danger of Social Media

Due to my job as a community managerin and my own personal interest, I am dealing with social media on a daily basis. Using it personally for 4 years and on a professional level for 1 year now, I learned to value the benefits and advantages of major networking sites. Staying in contact with your friends no matter where you are, see what your friends are experiencing through their posts, pictures, videos and shared articles is great! But there is a danger coming from social networks as well.

Developers of social media websites are creating new features and applications on a daily basis. In the beginning, users just had a profile and they shared their information with their friends. Now users are linked to companies, to applications, to people from work etc. The security settings are changing almost every day and if you do not keep track of them it can happen that suddenly everybody knows where you are meeting your friends right now… This problem became even bigger since users started using social networks everywhere they go through their smartphones.

Networks offer a lot of possibilities to protect a profile but using them responsibly in order to protect your data from others can become quite hard, even for people who care a lot about that. Facebook for example offers the possibility to create friend lists. After setting up those lists, you can easily decide which list can see what on your profile which is great! But recently I discovered some gaps here. If you for example post something that is only visible for a certain group of people, it can still happen that one of these people posts a comment on this on your wall which is then visible for everybody again.

Another thing is that, since we are now connected to literally everyone and thus are more selective about who should see what, we always have to think through what we are posting to whom. It happened to me in the past that I did not thought a post through completely and just forgot to exclude certain people and once something is posted, it is out there. Of course you can delete it afterwards but if you realise your mistake too late, people who were not supposed to might already have seen it.

So, can we find a solution for that problem? Here are some possibilities:

  • just have personal contacts in your friend list who you wish to see everything you publish
  • have a separate profile for colleagues and/or loose contacts
  • reduce the amount of information you share

If you cannot abdicate anything of those points, you have to be really really careful and think about everything you post. You have to think through every possibility because mistakes like that can have major consequences in real life because social media already plays an important part of our real life and tends to become even more important and more complicated in the future. My tip is to not post too much private stuff, do not include personal information like addresses and phone numbers on your profile and always check your security settings on a regular basis. Even if you keep track of all of this, there are still some loopholes that create a real danger.

Social networks are great for all the things I mentioned above and I personally love them and would not know what to do without them but using them responsibly and protecting ones own security is a crucial point that shouldn’t be forgotten…

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