Think of your safety this way….

Would you tell a complete stranger all about your family, work, love life, hobbies, and interests? And give them some personal photos to look at, too? Most people would probably answer ‘no’. But on the Internet, that’s exactly what millions of us are doing. Online social networks are fun and hip, but they also present a major security concern for Internet users.  Once information is posted to a social networking site, it is no longer private.  The more information you post, the more vulnerable you may become.

Here are some things to consider….

1. Don’t reveal too much – each social media network has different levels of privacy settings that control access to your profiles and your interaction with others.  Identity theft is a major issue with the Internet and social media sites.  Criminals can take information from your sites and spam emails and target attacks on specific people.  Personal information you share could be used to conduct attacks against you and your friends.  The more information you share, the more likely someone could impersonate you and trick one of your friends into sharing personal information, downloading malware, or providing access to restricted sites.

2. Beware of spam messages – it could be an email pretending to be from someone you know, addressing you by your first name and mentioning the names of your friends and family members.  This message may not look like a spam message because they want to trick you into revealing even more sensitive information.

3. Educate yourself – know what is right and wrong when interacting on social media.  Share things that are fun, inspirational, motivational, be kind, authentic and genuine.

4. Maintain a good reputation – remember that whatever you post on your social media sites remains in the public sphere long after you log out of the website. This includes the crazy stuff and wild photos that you posted on Facebook but decided to delete ten minutes later because it suddenly seemed like a bad idea. The problem is that you can’t really retract it. Once it’s out there on the Internet, you have little control over who copies the material, where it is used and how widely it gets distributed.

5. Connect only with people you know – while networks like Twitter and Pinterest are typically safe for connecting with strangers, sites like Facebook and LinkedIn typically share a bit more information about you.

6. Don’t broadcast your location – not exactly the safest because you’re either telling a stalker where you are or you’re telling a thief that you’re not home, so come and rob me.  Don’t ever post on Facebook that you’re away on vacation because that’s what robbers look for.  Share those pictures once you are back from vacation.

7. Don’t click on links unless you know where they lead – social media is a huge link sharing platform, and it may be tempting to click on every potential great deal or humorous cat video. While the majority of the links are actually pretty safe, many can lead to viruses or phishing schemes. Avoid haphazard clicking and only visit trusted sites.

8. Password protection – never use a password that is related to your name, address, birthday or pets’ name.  If someone wants your information, these are things that can be found pretty easily.  Make your password 14 characters or longer.  Add special characters – instead of a lowercase ‘s’ use a $.  Use exclamation points and percentage signs.  Don’t just through these characters at the end, use them throughout the password.  Use different passwords for everything and never give it out to anyone.

What are some Dos and Don’ts of Social Media?

  • DO be honest
  • DON’T share too much
  • DO share relevant content
  • DON’T share content that questions your values
  • DO think before you post
  • DON’T over thing it
  • DO be respectful

In next week’s blog, I am going to share a video I did going through all of the Facebook Settings.  This will help you in staying safe on Facebook.

Until then, Keep Calm & Love Social Media!

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If you’re afraid of the numerous social media platforms, confused and overwhelmed, getting help to figure out how to use all these social media tools is your next step!! My name is Michelle Arbore and welcome to Savvy Social Media. My company offers social media creation, management and coaching to entrepreneurs and small business owners.

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How to be safe on social media

by Michelle Arbore time to read 3 min
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