With a current total of close to 7,269,600,000 profiles currently active across all social media sites, it is safe to say that the world is pretty well connected. This is fantastic for industry and individuals alike as we can stay connected to our friends and loved ones, and make new friends and new connections with people other than in our schools and towns, even countries.
As a child, people are always warned by their parents about stranger danger and are frequently told “don’t talk to strangers”, but now social media is almost forcing us to break the rules set out for us by the older generation, but the people we follow on Instagram and Facebook aren’t strangers are they? We know what they have for their lunch and about their new job, what they bought from the supermarket and what cars they drive. But do we really know them? And what information do other people really know about us?
As we live in a world completely connected with our smart phones, tablets and other gadgets, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stick to the old rules set out by our parents. We need new rules for staying safe and secure online without compromising the benefits and opportunities this connectivity can offer us.
THINK BEFORE YOU POST.
It can be tempting to share every aspect of your life on social media and most people do, but do it with caution. When taking selfies outside, be mindful of getting house numbers and street addresses in the background. Also posting those photos from Friday night may have been a good idea at the time, but come Monday morning and a prospective employer is checking you out on Facebook, this may not be the best advert for your skills and attitude to work.
The same could be said for any comments or tweets you put out there. Anything controversial (on religion, politics and any other sensitive topics) should be entered into with extreme caution, or just avoided at all costs. Social media has a great knack of amplifying a situation and things seem to “go Viral” very quickly, a seemingly innocent post can be blown out of proportion before you get the chance to delete it, and then it is out of your hands. You just need to remember that as soon as something is online, it stays online, even if you can’t see it.
USE LOCATION SERVICES WISELY.
Having a smartphone with GPS tracking can be a godsend, but use it wisely. Using your phone as a Satnav to find your way to a job interview is ideal, but broadcasting your location as you are walking home alone is not. Be smart and turn it off when you don’t need it, plus this will save your battery and your data!
USE ALTERNATIVE PAYMENT METHODS.
The rise of the social-media commerce is difficult to ignore with more and more people setting up shop via a Facebook business page or Instagram account, it pays to be wary. You wouldn’t give a stranger on the street your bank card number and sort code would you? So what makes people on Facebook any different? It is not saying that everybody is out to rob you, but there are alternative ways to transfer your funds which minimises risk. PayPal for example, allows you to do online transactions without the vendor ever seeing your bank details, and if something is wrong with your purchase and you need to return it for a refund, this can be easily handled and tracked through PayPal and you won’t be left out of pocket should something go wrong.
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Further reading: Top tips for staying secure online
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