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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Too Much Information - Social Media Over-sharing

Social networks are an excellent tool to maintain our relationships with others, keep up to date with what's going on their life and share what is going on with ours. But some people don't really know where to draw the line, posting tweets/posts by the hour. Getting a promotion at work, for example, is share worthy news, which many “friends” would be happy to see. But they don't need a moment by moment breakdown of your day.

Many social network users publish information without thinking of the consequences, including private information and photos which place them in compromising situations. According to a recent survey, a third of all Britons regret over-sharing sensitive information about themselves and revealed situations where individuals were caught out calling in sick untruthfully and cheating on their spouses.

In fact, many recruiting companies do their due diligence and look at candidates' social media networks, predominantly Facebook. A study revealed that 35% of hiring managers Google candidates and 23% examine their social media behaviour. A third of those online searches lead to a rejection.

Here are 5 tips on how you can protect yourself 

1. Share information with people you trust. But bear in mind that even posting on real friends' wall can be seen by others, so don't say anything you wouldn't say offline. 

2. Manage location-based applications. There are many applications, often for smartphones, that can track your daily whereabouts and disclose your location. Perhaps it is best to simply switch most of them off.

3. Manage instant sharing. Services such as Spotify and YouTube, when connected to social media platforms, automatically update your profiles. Does everyone really need to know everything you’re watching and listening to?

4. Check your profile settings regularly. Social media platforms every so often change their privacy preferences, which can affect you. Closely observing them will ensure you don't disclose private data.

5. Consider a reputation monitoring service. It is very difficult to keep track on which “incriminating” information was posted or will be posted on you in the future. Google saves searches for 7 years, while Facebook's records keeps pretty much all the data posted onto it. Reputation management services can help maintain approved links about you and alerts you when you are mentioned anywhere on the web.