Love it or loathe it, social media has changed the world, and all but the most luddite curmudgeons have a voluntary online presence. But it pays to be careful so as to avoid a Facebook fail.
I say harmless fun, you say illegal
You might think it hilarious to post pictures of your naked bottom hanging out of the car you’re drunkenly driving your rugby mates home in, but the junior school you work at won’t agree.
Stream those friends
Facebook’s privacy settings allow you to dictate who sees what. Yeah, it’s a tedious chore to set up, but worth it. Just remember, other people can republicise your information to a wider audience, even if you’ve done your best to keep it private.
The devil is in the detail
Yes! I will share my date of birth, my place of education, my hobbies, children’s names, mother’s maiden name and everything else about me because I am open and friendly! I am now a prime candidate for identity theft.
Who are your friends?
Complaining about your mother-in-law to all your friends might be cathartic, but it’s not very clever if she’s on your friends list. The solution to this, non-friending, can lead to awkward social moments too, when the monster-in-law asks you just why you haven’t accepted her friend request.
Jobs, jobs, jobs
In some places, you can be fired for bringing your profession into disrepute. Even if you think your boss will never notice, sinister ’bots are already pre-screening resumes for businesses. And try not to do the supremely dumb things that real people have done like reveal the (secret) inner workings of their employing firm.
Honesty is the best policy. Your resume might say you are a squeaky clean fellow with a host of qualifications, whereas Facebook reveals the reform school you were kicked out of and all your ex-convict pals from St Hardman’s Penitentiary. Whoops.
Online is forever
Everything online can live until the end of the internet itself. Things you post about as a callow youth can come and bite you when you’re a respectable adult. Think!
Social media can drag time out of you. Fortunately, you can link all your various Twitter, Facebook and other socialising accounts together to save you valuable seconds! Unfortunately, this only multiplies the ways negative self-publicity can spread itself all over the web.
It might seem brilliant to keep your buddies apprised of all you do, but your children could fall into a tank full of sharks because you’re not looking at what they’re doing – you are Facebooking what they’re doing.