1. Always remember your opinions can be used against you
The advent of social media offered the average person an almost unprecedented platform to express strong opinions on a number of normally very sensitive issues. Particularly in the arenas of politics and religion. But while people may love the opportunity to broadcast their strong opinions to a vast audience, they were not so fond of those opinions being used to create ads targeted specifically at them to sway them towards voting for a specific political candidate. One way to avoid being the target of unwanted advertising is to not use social media as a platform to broadcast your opinions. Save your strongest opinion for face-to-face meetings with close personal friends and family.
2. Protect your conversations
Social media is not the only way to share online. Anything you transmit digitally, including via text, e-mail and instant messaging is all potentially up for grabs for hackers and data thieves. There are a number of different ways to protect your conversations and the devices you use to send them. Using strong passwords is a good start and enabling encryption protections on your router is another. Using public WiFi is almost never a good idea, but if you find that you need to, you should always use a reliable VPN service that can create a Virtual Private Network for you while you are accessing the web.
3. Be careful of oversharing your personal life on social media
Whatever you post on social media is being broadcast to hundreds, if not thousands of individuals. Depending on how your privacy settings are set, you could be broadcasting intimate details of your life to millions of people around the world. In addition to telling potential employers just how you spend your free time, just remember that sharing photos of that delicious meal you are currently enjoying in Italy is telling hundreds or thousands of people that you are not home right now…
4. Keep your circles small and your privacy settings high
Social media presents something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, many people gain a sense of prestige from how many friends or followers they have and yet every one of those friends and followers makes you vulnerable. If you think about it, privacy and a large social media following are mutually exclusive. If you truly want to protect your privacy and your integrity, it’s important to overcome the ego boost that having so many friends and followers may give you. Keep your online social circles small and your privacy settings on as high as they will go if you genuinely want to keep your life private.
5. Learn to scroll on past
If there is any harder discipline to learn than limiting the sharing of your personal life and opinions on social media, it’s learning to not respond to the inflammatory comments or posts of others. Keep in mind that if a post inflames or enrages you, chances become very slim that you will respond with dignity and grace. Remember that while you may have control over who sees what you post individually, you have no control over who sees what you post in response to other people’s posts.
6. Don’t log in to other accounts through social media
The ability to log into a wide range of sites through your social media account can be tempting. After all, it’s so much easier to log into one site that can then open all the others than remember so many individual passwords. Particularly since you are supposed to be using unique passwords for each. But linking all your accounts together can actually make you far more susceptible to identity theft and hacking. In addition, if a hacker can get into multiple accounts by just getting into one, they can just do that much more damage.