Internet is not new to me. I first used it in 1990. Yes, it was very new back then and our email contacts were limited to the world of academia, very restricted and rather private. The protocols were quite clear, too. Now leap to 2017 (blame it to the Tardis!) it's no longer easy to be private and for some reasons my email inbox is full of ads. My digital imprint is already stamped and I'd have to fake my death to be invisible now, no matter how hard I try. I have 5 kids and enjoy our privacy. Sadly, this privacy thing has been such a luxury. In the past few years I have been very reluctant to use social media in the effort to remain private. But it looks like if you can't beat 'em, you join 'em!
I am an advocate for privacy. It’s a big battle but we’ve got to start somewhere, haven’t we? So lets have a look at some issues on privacy on social media. Good thing is, clever people have already provided us with their cleverness (Bless them!!!) and I just need to link us to their gold ideas on the topic. Just to remind you, the articles below are not written by me (Yey!) so don’t shoot the messenger but please drop me a line or two for your inputs.
Facebook has important tools on whom you choose to view your posts, how we connect with each other and how we manage our “tags”. Check their Basic Privacy Settings & Tools. Margie Anderson also mentions a very useful site developed by QUT on privacy issues: How to promote, protect and look after yourself online.
Privacy concerns with social networking services
Since the arrival of early social networking sites in the early 2000’s, online social networking platforms have expanded exponentially, with the biggest names in social media in the mid-2010s being Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and SnapChat. The massive influx of personal information that has become available online and stored in the cloud has put user privacy at the forefront of discussion of the databases ability to safely store such personal information. The extent to which users and social media platform administrators can access user profiles has become a new topic of ethical consideration and the legality, awareness and boundaries of subsequent privacy violations are critical concerns in the advance of the technological age .
Social network is a social structure made up of a set of social actors (such as individuals or organizations), sets of dyadic ties, and other social interactions between actors. Privacy concerns with social networking services is a subset of data privacy, involving the right of mandating personal privacy concerning storing, re-purposing, provision to third parties, and displaying of information pertaining to oneself via the Internet. Social network security and privacy issues result from the astronomical amounts of information these sites process each day. Features that invite users to participate in—messages, invitations, photos, open platform applications and other applications are often the venues for others to gain access to a user’s private information. In addition, the technologies needed to deal with user’s information may intrude their privacy. More specifically, In the case of Facebook. Adrienne Felt, a Ph.D. candidate at Berkeley, made small headlines last year when she exposed a potentially devastating hole in the framework of Facebook’s third-party application programming interface (API). It made it easier for people to lose their privacy. Felt and her co-researchers found that third-party platform applications on Facebook are provided with far more user information than it is needed. This potential privacy breach is actually built into the systematic framework of Facebook. Unfortunately, the flaws render the system to be almost indefensible. “The question for social networks is resolving the difference between mistakes in implementation and what the design of the application platform is intended to allow,” said David Evans, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Virginia. Moreover, there is also the question of who should be held responsible for the lack of user privacy? According to Evan, the answer to the question is not likely to be found, because a better regulated API would be required for Facebook “to break a lot of applications, [especially when] a lot of companies are trying to make money off [these] applications.” Felt agrees with her conclusion, because “there are marketing businesses built on top of the idea that third parties can get access to data and user information on Facebook.”
The advent of the Web 2.0 has caused social profiling and is a growing concern for internet privacy. Web 2.0 is the system that facilitates participatory information sharing and collaboration on the Internet, in social networking media websites like Facebook and MySpace. These social networking sites have seen a boom in their popularity starting from the late 2000s. Through these websites many people are giving their personal information out on the internet.
These social networks keep track of all interactions used on their sites and save them for later use. Issues include cyberstalking, location disclosure, social profiling, 3rd party personal information disclosure, and government use of social network websites in investigations without the safeguard of a search warrant.
When you first got to college, social media was probably about sending party invites, posting pictures of your new friends, complaining about tests, meeting dates, and keeping in touch with family back home. Now that you’re getting ready to leave school behind and pursue a business career, education career, criminal justice career, health career, science career – which ever – you will need to reconfigure your social media activity so that future employers and contacts respect you. Here are 50 social media etiquette rules to remember.
Keep these general tips in mind whenever you log on.
- Act like you would in real life: Just because you’re hiding behind a computer as you type doesn’t mean that people aren’t going to connect what you say online with who you are as a real person. How you act on social media sites is often the most direct way that people — including potential employers — will perceive you.
- Don’t discriminate just because: You can’t be friends with everyone online, but you’ll never broaden your network if you don’t connect with people outside of your circle and comfort zone. Be willing to open yourself up to all types of followers and friends.
- You have to earn respect: You can earn respect on social media sites by offering quality, accessible information in a friendly way. Share relevant links, commentary and helpful advice.
- Always introduce yourself: Whenever you friend or follow a new person or jump into an open conversation, take a quick second to introduce yourself. Share your real name, occupation and geographical location. It’s just polite.
- Avoid burnout: If you’re on social media sites constantly, you’ll burn yourself out and annoy other people. Find a balance so that you’re making quality contributions to the discussion, not dominating it.
- Tweet and update for your most conservative followers: If you have lots of friends online, it can be hard to remember who’s still listening in to your conversations and updates. Remember who your most conservative followers are, and make sure whatever you put online is appropriate for them.
- Be curious, but not nosy: Social media communities are all about sharing and learning from each other. You’re encouraged to ask questions, but don’t be too inquisitive about people’s personal lives until you become actual friends.
- Be extra polite: You wouldn’t make a nasty comment to a person you just met at work or school: you’d probably go above and beyond to seem friendly and helpful. Apply the same attitude to your social media activity.
- Don’t ask for favors: Once you’ve established a relationship with an online contact, you can ask for advice or help, but don’t log on just to ask people to do your work for you.
- Follow the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated, and you’ll develop a reputation for being a worthy friend and follow who other users will want to pass along to their network.
- Remember that there are boundaries: Not everyone you’re following — or who is following you — is your personal friend, so avoid talking about health problems and mushy stuff.
These Facebook-specific rules address photos, tagging, and all those applications.
- Don’t cyber-stalk: If you’re never getting any responses back to the wall posts and messages you leave on someone’s profile, then you’re cyber-stalking them. Stop.
- Don’t drunk-Facebook: Sending drunk Facebook messages or making drunk wall posts can be funny with friends, but seriously damaging with professional contacts.
- Don’t send apps: Make sure that when you try out an application, you’re not sending it to everyone you’re friends with. That’s right: everyone.
- Don’t write private messages on wall posts: It’s embarrassing, rude, and makes you look immature.
- Edit your photo choices: Don’t put up photos of yourself or others engaging in illegal, irresponsible activities, including pictures of you chugging pitchers of beer, whether or not you’re 21.
- Stop playing the farm animal game if you want to be taken seriously: Would you want to hire someone who clearly spends all day swapping cows and feeding goats on Facebook?
- Be careful who you tag: Just because you don’t have a job doesn’t mean your friends are okay with having ridiculous photos of themselves posted on Facebook so that their moms and bosses can see them.
- Write clear status updates: People who write vague, depressing song lyrics or status updates come across as self-indulgent.
- Be respectful of the relationship status: Talk with your partner before changing a relationship status. If it’s good news, do you want an online medium to be the one to share it? If it’s bad, you want to make sure you’re not breaking up with someone via Facebook.
- Avoid chain status updates: Don’t fall for chain status updates to save a child with cancer or promote world peace. They’re annoying.
- Ask friends to make introductions: You’ll avoid freaking people out if you ask a friend to make an introduction rather than friending people you’ve randomly spotted online.
Twitter is addictive, but it also has lots of traps that can lure you into looking unprofessional and lazy.
- Don’t use automation tools: You might think it’s nice to send an automatic message every time someone follows you, but it actually makes you look lazy and unengaged. Social media is about the personal effort behind the connection.
- Keep tabs on your ratio: One of the easiest ways for people to decide whether or not they want to follow you is to check your follow ratio. Try to keep it balanced so that you don’t look desperate or like a snob.
- Share other people’s work, not just your own: For every tweet you make about yourself, make two or three tweets about someone else’s work or a third party article.
- Send private messages for private conversations: Twitter has an option to let you send private messages, and it’s important that you remember to use it when appropriate.
- Always share your best work: You never know who’s watching you on Twitter, so always promote your absolute best work, not your mediocre stuff.
- Use your real name: Social media is about being honest, not tricking people. Even a clever pseudonym will turn off your more professional contacts.
- Don’t be a sucker: As with any viral medium, it’s easy to get caught up in scams and just plain incorrect information. Don’t go crazy retweeting sensational stories until you’ve verified they’re true.
- Use a real picture: Just as you use your real name, use a real photo of yourself to help others understand who they’re connecting with.
- Don’t ask to be retweeted: If your tweet is good enough to share, your followers will retweet it without a desperate plea.
- Don’t use Twitter to point fingers: You can send open tweets to ask about a problem, but don’t trash companies or individuals just because you had a bad experience. Contact them in private.
Grammar and Communication
There are appropriate shortcuts for social media, but don’t go overboard. Otherwise, no one will be able to understand you, and they may think you’re lazy and ignorant.
- Know what @means: @ is a sign that means you’re responding to or directly addressing a particular user or message. On some sites, it even tags that person.
- Use the word, not the number: Substituting “2” for “to” looks like you’re in junior high.
- Social media is a step up from texting: Unless you’re updating all your messages on a mobile device, remember that social media is a step up from texting. If you’re typing on a keyboard, you can type out the whole word.
- Don’t make stupid mistakes: You’re not receiving an official grade from your tweets and updates, but you are being judged on your grammar mistakes.
- Edit your work: Take a few seconds to review your messages so that you can correct any mistakes.
- Avoid exclamation points: They’re warranted sometimes, but punctuation marks are annoying to read and make your writing look juvenile.
- Always be honest and transparent: With so many distractions going on online, keep your messages short, clear and truthful.
- Know which rules you can break: Regular abbreviations and certain punctuation marks — like ellipses — can be used more freely on social media sites.
When it comes time to hunt for new employment or broaden your network, remember these crucial tips for the online job search.
- It’s okay to be chatty: Penelope Trunk explains that your LinkedIn resume should be a little chatty, but still professional. You want to stand out and come across as easy-going, but know when you’re crossing the line.
- Don’t follow an employer’s personal account: You’re going to look desperate and creepy if you follow an employer or hiring manager’s personal profiles. Look for official ones instead.
- Monitor your style: Using all caps and typing in the vernacular are inappropriate when making professional contacts.
- Follow up: once.: It’s a good idea to follow-up after a meeting, interview or communiqué, but doing so over and over is stalking and spammy.
- Understand who your target contacts want to deal with: An executive isn’t going to be interested in talking to an intern, so find the middle man who can put you two in touch.
- Be mindful of the time you contact someone: Don’t send Facebook messages at 11p.m. Friday night. Send them during regular business hours to show that you’re responsible and can work on a normal schedule, too.
- Mind your ps and qs: Always say thank you and understand that anyone who’s helping you in your online job search is doing you a favor. You aren’t entitled to anything.
- Keep up with your LinkedIn profile headline: Make sure your headline is updated to accurately communicate your current occupational status.
- Don’t be bold about looking for a new job if you’re still under contract: Remember this for your future: don’t advertise that you’re looking for a new job if you haven’t told your boss you’re quitting. You could find yourself without any form of employment if your boss — or his or her colleagues — find your updates online.
- Help others: It’s not just about your job search. Offer to help friends and followers if you have a contact they need.
By Steve Ritch and Maggie McGary
Social media has changed the way that we communicate and in turn the way we conduct business. Information that used to take days or weeks to disseminate can now be posted on a site like Facebook and be distributed around the world in seconds.
Likewise, the amount of traffic and information that social media sites produce is astounding. Some of the most recent statistics from the Facebook Press Room in November 2011 illustrate this point. For example, look at the following statistics related to social interactions of the average Facebook user:
- Facebook has more than 800 million active users.
- The average Facebook user has 130 friends.
- The average Facebook user is connected to 80 community pages, groups, and events.
- Facebook has more than 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events, and community pages).
- On average, more than 250 million photos are uploaded to Facebook per day.
This article was not written with the intent to launch into a meaningful discussion about the features or merits of one social networking site verses another. Instead, the reason for this piece is to provide you with tips on the etiquette of social networking. If social networking is so intricately woven into the fabric of our personal and professional lives, then the need for some basic rules of civility could not be any more necessary. The following list of items, although not comprehensive by any means, should provide even a novice user with a good starting point for any social networking context:
- Pick a professional screen name. How professional is it to have work colleagues or clients respond to posts from “HippieChick7” or “FratGuy75”?
- Create a professional profile. Think of your profile as your online business card. Sometimes, this is the way that people are first introduced to you online. What impression are you hoping to create? Put your real name and your actual photo on your profile. You may be really psyched about your Scooby Doo collection, but do not use it in your profile picture (unless your business is selling Scooby Doo memorabilia).
- Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your mother, clergy person, clients, boss, or colleagues to see. Unless you are prepared to join the witness protection program, make sure your “internal editor” is always turned on. Too many people have had something they post on a whim come back to bite them later. This is especially true of the photos you post on Facebook, or use for your Twitter profile. Also, be mindful of privacy settings on Facebook—limiting who can see you in photos, who can tag you in photos, and who can check you out via Facebook Places.
- Keep personal and professional posts separate. Use Facebook’s “list” feature to filter who sees what—you can set up lists “personal” and “professional” and designate what friends can view in each of those categories. Also, consider using Facebook’s secret group feature—this might be an ideal way to separate personal from professional by creating a group called “personal” (or whatever name you choose) to keep friends and professional life separated. Too many people try to mix their business and personal lives; it rarely works successfully. Do you really want your business contacts to know that you call your best friend Tommy “Dorkface” on a regular basis?
- Be nice. Acknowledge people when they ask a question, apologize if you offend someone, and never ever spam, flame, or trash someone else online. Social media in the business environment is never appropriate for working out your childhood issues, settling a score, or arguing endlessly about your personal/social/political beliefs.
- Practice HALT. Never post anything if you are too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Take some time to rest, reflect, and recuperate, then, post it later.
- Do not send winks, pokes, virtual martinis, or invitations for your business contacts to play online games. This is your professional life, not Tuesday night with the gang at the sports bar.
- Do not be a stalker. If someone declines your friend invitation, move on. Do not keep trying to friend these people—at best, you will appear desperate and at the worst you will appear psychotic. Can you say “virtual restraining order”?
- Use spell check. This may seem strange, but you should think about writing your responses in Word or some other word processing program and then posting the edited version. It can save you some embarrassment later on if you don’t have to apologize for or explain away simple grammatical or spelling errors.
Clearly, social networking (social media) sites are here to stay—at least for a while. It only seems natural that with such impressive numbers of users, we should try to reinforce some common sense rules of behavior for the business professional.