Most people who use social media on regularly don't see much distinction between the terms 'privacy' and 'security'. But if you're working professionally online, you should have a solid grasp of the differences in these two terms and what they can mean to your job and your personal life.
Security generally means protection against unauthorised access to online data. But what that data includes can blur the lines between privacy and security. Secure data can consist of personal information, including buying habits, email addresses, names and other information that is considered valuable in the digital world.
Maintaining a high level of awareness in how you go about keeping both your personal and work data private and secure will provide you with the control you need to maintain for both your privacy and security.
We aren’t talking about ‘dangerous’ in terms of social media being an addiction or an obsession. That’s up to the individual to decide. We are speaking about the aspect of maintaining your right to privacy.
To become accepted on social media, you have to share personal information. And while most of the information you share of Facebook or Instagram will be benign, there is always that chance that some information should never have been shared at all.
There are no 'take-backs' in social media. Once you've shared personal information about yourself, it's there for the whole world to see. Everyone has horror stories about unflattering comments or pictures people had shared in a state of weakness, only to be refused a job or school admission when the information reached people who took offence at it.
But there are a few rules you should observe when sharing personal information on social media: things like, never telling anyone about future travel plans. If you brag about a week-long trip out of town, you might as well have left your door wide open for thieves.
The way to handle posting on social media is to use common sense. You have to type out the post and then hit 'enter'. Take a moment before you enter your post and re-read the post. Are you posting in anger? Are you intoxicated? Is the post likely to read by both your personal friends and your work colleagues? If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you should delete the post as it may come back to haunt you later on in your work or social life.
Your personal information is valuable. You should hold it close and question companies that ask for it online. Before buying anything online and giving away your personal information to obtain the goods or services advertised, read the fine print under the terms and conditions of the sale.
An old truth about the internet is that if you can’t figure out the product in a service a company is offering online, the product is you.
Your personal data is a valuable commodity. Although you may not see the value in it, to marketers and data mining companies, your personal data represents another piece of the puzzle in predicting sales trends, patterns and outcomes in business.
If it’s valuable to others, it should be valuable to you as well. Maintain a high level of awareness and understand the subtle differences between security and privacy. You’ll be able to safeguard not only personal data that is crucial to your working life and can be sold unknowingly to others but social media information that can affect people's perception of you as well.