People have gotten used to sharing everything on social media with the comments, likes and follows rewarding them for every little disclosure they make.
South Africans on average spend more than eight hours a day online, according to research by We Are Social and Hootsuite.
Yet wise social media users are careful about what they post because once you post something, it can be online forever, even if you later change your mind and delete it.
Plus, even if using the privacy settings in platforms like Facebook gives you the illusion you are controlling who sees and shares your post, the reality is that anyone can screen capture and share your post with the rest of the world.
There are so many things that you shouldn’t share on social media, but here are some suggestions.
Too many personal details
The Internet is full of criminals and scammers hunting for personal information they can use for identity theft, account hijacking, card fraud and other sinister purposes.
Your ID number, your address, your telephone numbers and birth date are not exactly state secrets, but they are useful information for someone who wants to impersonate you, steal your money or your identity.
Too much information about your job
We’re all tempted to moan about our boss or a difficult client or a missed deadline after a bad day at the office. But it’s better to save it for the ears of your friends and family.
Not only could you be embarrassed if your manager sees your rant about their unreasonable demands on Facebook, you could also spill some company secrets when you talk about your work.
This could get you into a lot of trouble or even cost you your job, especially if you have a non-disclosure agreement as part of your employment contract.
Screenshots of personal messages
We have all seen people sharing screenshots of their DM’s, but do you ever think how that affects the person who sent it to them?
Even if you blank out the other person’s name, you may unintentionally share some of their personal info. Plus, people in your shared social circle may be able to figure out who they are.
If you absolutely have to share a screenshot of a conversation, make you get consent from the other person.
Anything that might embarrass you in the future
Tempted to post an edgy joke that some people might misinterpret or an amusing photo of your drunken escapades? Before you do it, think what a client or employee might think if they come across it on the Internet.
Don’t be a bully or liar
Be careful about posting something that could harm another person’s reputation, especially if you don’t have evidence that it’s true. You could be sued for defamation for sharing gossip or allegations that harm someone’s good name. We have all seen that happen on Twitter so maybe avoid making false statements about people.