Have you thought through all of your social media interactions with all of the recent news about social media safety and your identity? If not, you should take the time to evaluate your practices.
Social Media Safety
Did you know that when you share information on social media that you may be setting yourself up for theft?
Social media is an easy tool to share with those you know about your location, your happenings, your thoughts, and all of the other fascinating things we post. I found that many times we do not think about what happens to the news we share once we click or press to send. Let’s say that you are planning to take a vacation several states from home. You begin posting updates on your plans, packing, and trip preparations. Someone, not known to you, may find that information and have an “ah ha” moment. The person may begin planning to visit your home while you are gone. Why not? You are away from home. It is not likely that anyone will be in your abode. While you are away from home is a perfect opportunity for an unwanted visitor to your home. You may find that you come home to find items missing from your house. Social media safety would have you wait to post the information following your vacation after you are home.
Let’s change the dynamics a bit. You are away on vacation. With your smartphone in hand, you are taking all sorts of shots to help you remember the time and fun had. While at lunch, you begin choosing photos to share on your social media. You add text that talks about the fun you are having, the goofy moments experienced, and that, “I wish you were here” phrase. 🙂 You click and send the photos and the message away into cyberspace for the world to see. Again, here is another opportunity for an unwanted visitor to your home. You may come home to unpleasant findings. Social media safety would have you wait to post the information following your vacation when you are at home recuperating from too much fun.
Social Media Safety Tips
Simple common sense things can help you with social media safety. Consider three basic steps you can use with your social media.
- Create strong passwords. I heard in a seminar a couple of years ago that 13 characters with letters, numbers, and special characters should suffice. The person talked about the mathematical probability of figuring out the password, and the time it would take to crack your safety word. Thirteen+ characters sounds reasonable. However, I can say that you should include several elements in each of your strong passwords:
- Use lower and upper case letters in your word. Try not to use the capitalized letters where it would make sense. For example, the capital ‘m’ for MouSe makes sense. Think about how many words where we have the first letter in upper case. Try, instead, moUsE, or another combination that does not have the first letter capitalized.
- Use numbers in your password. Think of a system that makes sense to you and something that you will be able to keep in mind for future use. Try to keep the number randomized and not associated with any of your familiar numbers such as your phone number.
- Use special characters when possible. These symbols would include the symbols on the top row of your keyboard; i.e., *&%(#)@!(*%)(*&#. You will need to check the account you have. Some systems do not allow special characters.
- Use many characters for your passwords; the expert mentioned above suggests 13 characters. I still have a couple of accounts that mandate 8-12 characters.
- Playing games. They may be fun and exciting, but use caution when playing social media quizzes. If any game/quiz ask for personal information, STOP! Personally, I do not use any of the games or quizzes I find in my social media. If you take time to read the fine print, they are collecting information about your account, which typically includes who you are associated. I cannot control whether someone I know uses the online games or puzzles, but I do not have to play them. I treasure my social media safety, and I do not deliberately do anything that may comprise another’s information.
- Reconsider WHEN you share information. For safety reasons, it is better to post about your trips and vacations after your return home. In fact, I would suggest that you make your message clear that you are home and that you are sharing your fun after your arrival back to your abode.
Simple common sense tricks that can make your social media safety secure. Happy web surfing and sharing safely.