What do your friends, family, employers, the IRS and even criminals have in common? They could all have access to Facebook data, Tweets, check-ins, and anything else you've shared online.
Even though it's nice to share, there's such a thing as "over-sharing" when it comes to social media. Smartphones and countless social networks have made it easier than ever to broadcast your life. Here are a few tips to keep you, your family, and your reputation safe.
The best advice is to use common sense. If you wouldn't say something to a crowded room of strangers, you probably don't want to share it online, either. Always think about what you're sharing, how you're sharing it, and who you're sharing it with.
The Most Popular Social Network
These days, almost everyone you know is on Facebook. That can have its downside when you realize your parents are commenting on pictures you were tagged in at last night's bachelor party. But, there's much more to it than that. The most common privacy issues are:
Over-sharing - Posting your plans for the day, your current location, or simply sharing too many details of your life. Use extra caution if your profile is public.
Underuse of privacy settings - Take time to review your privacy controls and modify them to a level you're comfortable with.
Third-party apps - You might be surprised how many third-party apps have access to your personal information. Visit mypermissions.org to see who has access to your social media accounts and revoke access when appropriate.
Think Before You Tweet
It's almost too easy to send off 140 characters to the world. But, as search engines get better at indexing your tweets, you'll want to consider the impact. Below are some topics and information you probably don't want to share.
Avoid telling your followers how much you hate your boss or your job. Your current coworkers could see it, and future employers could find it and get a negative impression.
Beware geotags. Twitter and other apps can share your real-time location, making your home address, daily routine and other information public.
With identity theft on the rise, consider the personal information you want to share. For example, don't mistakenly give away password hints or contact information.
Don't Overthink It!
You probably don't need to make drastic changes to your online behavior. Take time to understand each social network you use and decide how you want others to perceive you. Be alert and use common sense and you'll make the most of social networking while maintaining your privacy.
Find more tips and information at privacyrights.org. Also follow GEICO on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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