HowStuffWorks has posted a handy little guide to privacy on social media. As I’ve mentioned before, on the internet (and social networking sites in particular) you have no privacy. So it stands to reason that if you don’t want something getting public, don’t post it online. Most of the suggestions are pretty obvious and common sense, but some I don’t agree with. Here’s a quick summary:
1: Anything You Don’t Want Shared Well, duh.
2: Password Hints Don’t tell everyone your Mother’s maiden name!
3: Your Password Not even to your boyfriend or girlfriend, in case the relationship sours.
4: Personal Finance Information Bank account details and PIN numbers obviously, but the HowStuffWorks article even says don’t post which bank your savings are in or what shares you have. That seems a little paranoid to me.
5: Your Address and Phone Number Basic first rule of the internets, really. In high school we had to sign a form saying we wouldn’t tell the over-friendly man in the chat room where we live or what our favourite lollies were. But it’s worth noting that with the rise of location based social media like Buzz and FourSquare, you need to be careful posting from home.
6: Photos of Your Kids Another one I don’t agree with. Anyone with a half-decent zoom lense can take a photo of your kid down at the park.
7: Company Information Also pretty self-explanatory. No company secrets or sensitive information. If you’re a counter-terrorist soldier, don’t post operational details publicly.
8: Linking Sites This kind of makes sense – don’t link a site for professional work-related stuff like LinkedIn with another site for boozy weekend romps. And as Jeff Jarvis says when he writes about “mutually assured humiliation”, with that sort of thing being more and more common we probably shouldn’t worry about it too much. But be mindful of clutter – your workmates don’t want to wade through hundreds of photos of you in a ‘boat race’ when they’re trying to find the latest ad-campaign design.
9: Social Plans Unless you’re short of cash and want to become a paid party organiser and world-famous wanker, probably best not to tell the whole world that you’re having a party and where it is.
10: Personal Conversations Essentially a repeat of Number 1 – if it’s something you wouldn’t normally talk about with any old stranger you should think about whether you want to post to the world about it. HowStuffWorks offers a simple rule: if in doubt, leave it out.