Social media has changed the way we interact, share and communicate. With the type of a few keys on the computer it is now possible to share anything with anyone around the globe, provided of course that the intended recipient has an Internet connection. Because of this, social media is a fantastic way to stay in touch with relatives and friends and share photos from the daily adventures or just plain life. This is a double-edged sword. Safety and security concerns are omnipresent as anything that goes onto the Internet stands a better than average chance of becoming a permanent notion or picture for the world. In addition, “oversharing” is a real and relevant issue with today’s social media landscape. Where it was once interesting to hear about someone’s daily minutiae via a weekly or monthly phone call, it now becomes tired and overkill with the daily, or even hourly, updates. To avoid the oversharing bug follow these few tips and tricks.
1. Share With Your “Real Friends” Only
It seems that today most people have two kinds of friends: real life friends and cyber-friends. To avoid the oversharing sickness concentrate on sharing only with your “real life” and close friends. Think about how you share via social media and then think of how you talk/share or present information to your “real life” friends. The best adage here it to remember to share with online social media sources the same way you would share with real world friends. It is very easy to get snarky, mean or downright rude via alleged “anonymous” Internet communications. Don’t. Add and share life updates as if the people you were sharing with were in the same room with you. If you wouldn’t share something in person do not do it online. And always remember, what goes up on the Internet becomes permanent. If something is angering you avoid sharing in a fit of anger, as that mean spirited quip becomes a permanent fixture attached to you that may not truly represent who you are.
2. No More “Location-Based” Apps
Today’s smartphones, tablets (iPad and otherwise) and even laptops offer a variety of “location-based” apps and services. These use geo-tagging, map updates and real-time updates to location and activities. When these apps are turned on, many of them beam out information and location updates to friends and acquaintances on social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. Not only does this get annoying for the recipients, it places users at risk of being stalked, traced or tracked. The best solution is to simply turn off any location-based applications or never install them in the first place. Remember that it is always best to control the information being sent out than to allow computerized updates. The only exception to this should be for expeditions where viewers wish to monitor progress, such as a mountaineering expedition.
3. Reputation Monitoring
Some social media sites offer “reputation monitoring” services. These services do two things: monitor any uploads with your name or code words; allow users to make a page with only preapproved links or controlled information on themselves. These services are add-on websites that interface with social media sites like Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter (to name just a few). The user sets the parameters so any information about them is strictly controlled. The scouring function of these sites actively searches for the user’s name or nickname (or anything entered into the search field) so the user knows if anything is being shared or posted about them. If something negative comes up on the user’s social media pages, the add-on apps begin the process of removing the disparaging remarks or content.
4. Less is More
There are just so many social media sites today. So many in fact that it is overwhelming, and with each offering to interface or link into the other, it is tempting to spread out over all. Don’t. Pick one, or two at the most, of the better social media sites for your purposes and stick to them. Remember that in almost any situation, less is more and it is all about quality and not quantity. Instead of having sites on Facebook, Google, Twitter and more, pick one and make it the best it can possibly be. Not only does this reduce oversharing, it helps keep you focused on the tasks at hand. Spend a little more time on quality versus a whole bunch of time on quantity.
5. Setting Checks
One thing that is very concurrent in surveys and studies with social media users is the failure to check and update settings on any routine basis. Settings such as “private” or “public” help keep user information under control. Make it a routine procedure every two weeks to go into the user preference panel and make sure everything is as desired. Check the appropriate settings to make sure information is allowed for private or public viewing and that the ability to remove unwanted posts or add-ons to walls and bulletin boards stays relevant. Do not ignore the settings. These are the controls for safe and secure social media sharing and use.