With social media changing the way we participate in the world, there are things that must be addressed in this new age. People seem to think that posting something on Facebook is similar to telling a few friends a funny story, your plans for the weekend, or venting about a frustrating incident. This could not be farther from the truth. It is more like publishing these things in a newspaper for all to read.
Depending upon your security settings, not only can your friends read your posts, but friends of friends as well. Also, let’s face it – we all have “friends” on Facebook that perhaps we are not really that friendly with, or haven’t seen or spoken to in years and don’t know that well. When you post something about another person, or perhaps how excited you are that you are going away for the weekend, you are basically broadcasting these things to the public. People have been fired from jobs over Facebook posts, and people have been robbed after posting about their plans to get away for the weekend. Students have even lost scholarships and been suspended over their Facebook photos that show incriminating behavior. You must use your best judgment before posting anything on Facebook.
I happen to know someone who posted on Facebook how excited they were to leave for their vacation the following morning. When they returned, someone had broken into their home and stolen their possessions. How had the thief known that this person was going to be away? It’s possible it was a close friend who knew about their vacation plans, but it’s more likely someone who saw their post on Facebook. They never did find the culprit, but the question remains: could this have been prevented if their vacation plans were never posted?
You should always steer clear of posting inflammatory remarks, announcing when you will be away from your home, or posting photos of risqué behavior such as binge drinking, illegal activities, or any other activites that may paint you in negative light. These same guidelines apply to other social media sites such as Twitter, blogs, MySpace, etc.
Have you ever had to deal with the backlash from a post? What other types of information would you recommend not posting on social media?