How Safe Are You? Privacy and Risks in Social Networks

It is true that social media platforms can suck your time like a vampire turning you into an ethereal zombie wandering in the post-Internet’s waste land. Furthermore, they have the power to expose you to the pleasures of experiencing a thousand and one nights of pain and to bring you ridicule by your ex or even spin your moral compass so fast that it might stunt your emotional growth that of a whole generation. Still, those are problems for later decades and a different generation.

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How social media allows you to experience pain anytime

For the rest of us, using social media networks bears some serious risks to our lives, and no I’m not talking about that “life” where you went broke playing Texas Hold’em and you would have to wait 24 hours before you can carry on with your addiction. I’m talking about risks that would directly impact your financial, legal, or health and might cause irreparable damage to any or all of those.

Honestly, all joking aside, how much time do you spend thinking about the repercussions of anything you do on social networks?

How about that new friend that you recently added and perhaps are falling for ? Is she really a girl ? Or is she just seeking her 15 seconds of e-fame ?

The sad reality is that while websites like Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter allowed us to be closer to people we care about it, they also allowed our enemies to be even closer! Now that might be a paranoid outlook on your newly discovered social popularity but with so much information about us available on the web it became virtually impossible to maintain any form of privacy or exclusivity of information.

In the past your slips and screw-ups would have been gone by the wind by the end of the conversation, or perhaps they are nostalgically looked upon amongst friends. Now with your every action photographed, commented on and produced on the web, we became cursed with immortality! One Google search and you will have to relive the horror over and over again, would you like to be the next Numa Numa? Or perhaps a web starlet ? Hell even a half-joking criticism of someone could pinch your pockets for $50,000, if you are not careful!

twitter, dangerous, evil

Twitter is dangerous

The fact of the matter is that we can’t help but leave our foot print on the Internet, and especially in social networks. What we can do is try to alleviate the effect and be careful about what information we leave out open to the public.

Some tips to help you achieve that is by always working on a “need to know” basis. Does AplusK69 who lives in Nigeria who has a cousin dying from cancer need to know your home phone number?

Common sense dictates that there are at least 6 things you should never share publicly, your social security number, your home address, your home/private phone number, you passwords and PIN’s, and your birth datealthough day and month are generally fine if you expect to receive birthday gifts from your Facebook “friends”.

Learn how to use the privacy settings to restrict such information, here is an excellent tutorials for Facebook. Sadly, Twitter exists in a black and white world where you either share everything or nothing. No one, other than an identity thief, is interested in knowing everything there is to be known about you.

Try to always ask yourself “What Would I Do In Real Life (WWIDIRL) ?” Think about it this way, what would be the effect of putting a neon sign on your front lawn saying “On vacation till the 25th” … yeah I thought so too, so why put it on your public profile that has your home address?

If you are a person who believes he will inevitably be sued for what he posts online, then as a last resort you can get insurance for up to $100,000 per claim for $540 a year.

You might think this is all very silly, it’s not! Breaking news after breaking news proved to us that we still don’t know the full impact of adopting the open book lifestyle. Mason Cooley’s prophetic words couldn’t ring truer; “The time I kill is killing me“.

So just how safe are you?

Comments and Reactions

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    First of all: I just loved the Twitter brand of cigarettes; it reminded me of Reddit's Bacon Soap! :)
    Great read! I agree with you 100%, we are in so much danger when using social media and engaging in social networking but I think most of us choose not to see it! It will take the fun out of the whole experience! Stay tuned to my upcoming post, it compliments your idea! You're gonna love it!

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com M.Bamieh

    Thank ya, I'll buy you a pack :) I also think that we prefer not to think about it, just makes our life easier and i'll be looking forward to your next post

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ FadiPick

    hehehe, I am the kind of person who don't think much about privacy issues. I know that sometimes it can really put people at risk, but I decide not to worry about it as I believe that if there is someone out there who wants to get you, he will get you no matter what.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    I agree. Why put details that you'd never give to a stranger on your online profile? Even if you think you only have real-friends on your Facebook account, how do you know that one of their passwords haven't been stolen? How do you know that they do not re-share this information in a direct or indirect way? For example, if someone with low-privacy settings replies to the example given in the article: “hey, have a great vacation, you should be able to see (a celeb) on the 24th” – he just gave out you trip date indirectly.

    Good topic – we should write more about privacy issues :)

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  • robert330

    Any one can access to the internet and the social security number is the one of fraud information that most the theft use to steel from us.
    free annual credit report

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