Do You Still Have Social Media Privacy Concerns?

NealSchaffer
Neal Schaffer President, Maximize Your Social

Posted on August 20th 2010



Social media and your privacy is an intriguing topic that we should all be concerned about.  On the one hand, Pete Cashmore of Mashable has already rightfully declared some time ago that Privacy is Dead.  On the other hand, there are those who are actually still afraid to join a social networking site because of privacy concerns.  It is these people that I want to address in this blog post.

This week I got this question from my reader:

I have always used alias names and blind emails everywhere online to protect my personal info from ID Theft.  Because I have a high credit score, I so far have not been ready to open up, what do you think?

 Let me point out that everyone should have some social media privacy concerns.  Facebook has made some blunders where they once made all of our profile information public by default.  Location based services such as Foursquare announce to the world whenever we “check-in” to a location, making us prime targets for both stalkers as well as robbers who hang out on Please Rob Me to look for their next target.

But let’s take a step back and remember my golden rule of social media privacy:

Don’t say anything or post anything to your profile that you would not want any stranger to know.

It really is as simple as that!  Only the information that you post could potentially harm you.

You do also have control over the flow of your social media information.  Social networking sites like LinkedIn give you complete control over who gets to see how much of your profile.  I even wrote a detailed blog post sometime ago on how to make a private LinkedIn profile.  Facebook, for all that is said about them, is the same.  So if you are really concerned, go to your Settings on each site and learn how they work before you post any private information.  Or just don’t post any private information!

Getting back to the question I received, it is true that there is always this risk when your information is public. That being said, if someone wanted to perform ID Theft on you, they could have done this _before_ social media. I had someone use my credit card illegally back in 2006, and when I contacted Citibank, they said that even they didn’t have any control anymore and couldn’t tell me how someone could have “cloaked” my card.

As for worries concerning high credit scores, I a not a financial professional but I believe that credit scores are only affected if there are a lot of calls made on your credit report or you are taking on new financial burdens. There are services out there like LifeLock that specialize in helping you control your credit reporting so that you are informed if there is any potential ID theft going on out there.  If you are really concerned, the price you pay for services like theirs is minimal compared to your peace of mind gained.

It all comes down to weighing the pros and the cons, the benefits and potential costs associated of participating in social media.  I personally believe that privacy has always been dead, and there are way more advantages than disadvantages in being active on social media.  Google yourself and see what comes up about you outside of your social networking sites and you’ll see what I mean.

Taking it one step further, I grew up with the understanding that any house at any time could be robbed if someone made a concentrated attempt to do so.  I believe the same is true with our identities, and thus although social media could amplify your information, the issues of privacy and ID theft predate the advent of social media.

The choice is one that only you can make, but I believe that responsibly using social media can help you reap the benefits while mitigating potential risks involved.

Am I crazy?  What do you think?

 
NealSchaffer

Neal Schaffer

President, Maximize Your Social

Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer two years in a row and creator of the AdAge Top 100 Global Marketing Blog Windmill Networking (recently rebranded as Maximize Social Business), Neal is a global social media speaker who also teaches as part of the Rutgers University Mini Social Media MBA Program. As an author, Neal is best known for his definitive book on social media strategy creation, implementation, and optimization “Maximize Your Social: A One-Stop Guide to Building a Social Media Strategy for Marketing and Business Success” (Wiley)  but has also published two other award-winning and critically acclaimed social media books: ”Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing” and “Windmill Networking: Maximizing LinkedIn.”

As a leading social media speaker, Neal currently speaks on social media at dozens of corporate, professional association, and online events each year. In parallel, he continues to consult with, coach, and train clients on strategically leveraging social media for their business. Since launching his social media strategy consulting business in January, 2010, Neal has worked with dozens of companies, from small startups and solopreneurs to Fortune 500 enterprises and a Grammy Award-winning celebrity. In addition, Neal is also founder and editor-in-chief of Maximize Social Business, a leading social media for business resource featuring industry thought leaders.

Neal works with clients seeking his social media expertise in the following ways: 

Social Media Strategy Consultant - Neal works with companies in auditing their current social media efforts company-wide and creating a comprehensive social media strategy that aligns corporate objectives with the potential for social business. For smaller businesses who need to have an expert social media advisor on call for practical advice, Neal offers this service at reasonable rates to help as many companies as possible with their social media.

Social Media Speaker - Whether it’s a keynote speech, presentation for a professional association or a hands-on workshop for an internal audience, Neal delivers customized content with concrete takeaways to meet your needs.

Social Media Content Creator – Need a recognized social media author to ghostwrite or help in writing a social media book, ebook, whitepaper, or magazine article for your organization or enterprise? Neal is available for such work.

See Full Profile >

Comments

Posted on August 21st 2010 at 2:55AM

Maybe its my age but I believe using common sense ( I know not so common lol) means you do only tell strangers what you want them to know about you.  The problem as I see it is that Gen Y'ers are too out there.  I checked my niece's Facebook page awhile back and was appalled at what she had up.  After some gentle coaxing some of it came down and now she is off Facebook althogether.  She made the decision herself but stuff was still out there in cyberspace. Cos they have grown up with gadgets and computers are so much a part of their world, I think sometimes they don't think before sending stuff.  We see it all the time on the news over here and mostly us "olds" are bewildered at how it could happen.  As I said at the beginning of this post common sense needs to prevail.

Patricia  Perth Australia

http://www.lavenderuses.com

Posted on January 16th 2011 at 12:32PM

Amen!  Our local social media group has had its knickers in a bunch over privacy issues.  Perhaps because I have spent the better part of my career working in the field of public relations (emphasis on public) I feel more at ease in social media (emphasis on social).  The dire warnings of repercussions from checking in on Four Square (your house will be robbed) to not getting an interview (because there is a compromising photo of you on someone else's FaceBook page) are beginning to feel like urban myths.  People were stalked and credit compromised long before FaceBook and Twitter came along.  The obvious retort?

Don’t say anything or post anything to your profile that you would not want any stranger to know.

Thank you!

Posted on June 11th 2011 at 1:18AM

Amen!  Our local social media group has had its knickers in a bunch over privacy issues.  Perhaps because I have spent the better part of my career working in the field of public relations (emphasis on public) I feel more at ease in social media (emphasis on social).  The dire warnings of repercussions from checking in on Four Square (your house will be robbed) to not getting an interview (because there is a compromising photo of you on someone else's FaceBook page) are beginning to feel like urban myths.

Posted on June 11th 2011 at 1:23AM

Amen!  Our local social media group has had its knickers in a bunch over privacy issues.  Perhaps because I have spent the better part of my career working in the field of public relations (emphasis on public) I feel more at ease in social media (emphasis on social).  The dire warnings of repercussions from checking in on Four Square (your house will be robbed) to not getting an