Social Media: Friends, Followers & Foes

college students 300x199 Social Media: Friends, Followers & Foes

My dad is 67 years old and completely baffled by the idea that people actually WANT to use the internet to make their personal information available for all the world to see.

I, however, am a recent college graduate. As such, the majority of my high school and college years were spent doing just that – chronicling my entire life on social media sites. In fact, as far as my friends and I were concerned, if it wasn’t posted on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, it didn’t actually happen.

Maybe my generation should slow down for a minute and listen to some of what my father’s generation is saying about the frightening amount of personal information that can be discovered about us simply because we innocently relinquish it to cyber space.

Before you log into your favorite social media website, BBB strongly encourages you to read that website’s privacy policy as well as their terms and conditions of use.  The privacy policy should tell you the type of information they collect, who can see that information, how it is secured, and what recourse you have if your information is misused. BBB also requires all BBB Accredited Businesses that collect sensitive data to disclose their privacy policies and to protect the sensitive information of their users.

For example, Facebook, the well-known social media website, is a BBB Accredited Business. As such, like all BBB Accredited Businesses, Facebook is required to take steps to protect your privacy as a user.

Just like you would do research on the companies with which you do business, companies also do their due diligence when it comes to checking on you as a consumer. Millennials, like us, shop online. Companies are collecting all sorts of information about you while you shop.

However, more than just marketing companies and retailers track our online presence. Employers and companies that may be hiring are interested in your online presence as well. People have been fired or denied jobs based on things they have said or done on Facebook and other social media sites. So, keep in mind that entering the job market now is harder than ever, so you should be sure to dot your I’s and cross your T’s.

We all need to be more vigilant about monitoring our social media presence.  BBB has a few helpful tips for my fellow social media lovers:

  • Avoid entering sensitive information, anywhere. But, if you must enter Social Security numbers, driver’s license information, or financial information, make sure that the website is secure and trustworthy. (i.e. look for the “s” in “https” to make sure that the website is secure)
  • Never email sensitive information. If you do, your credit card information could live on servers everywhere.
  • Check your privacy settings on social media sites. Limit your profile to only the people that you trust with your information.
  • Think before you post any videos or pictures that could come back to haunt you.  Maybe those drunken Vegas pictures should stay in the “What Happens in Vegas” folder on your desktop.
  • Nothing in cyberspace goes away, EVER. Don’t post it if you only want it to be there temporarily.

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About Alyssa Christian

Alyssa Christian is the Advertising Review Intern for the Better Business Bureau serving Dallas and Northeast Texas. She is a recent graduate of the University of North Texas with a degree in Radio, Television & Film. Her hometown is Desoto, TX.