"You Are What You Share"
It’s back to school day here in Nova Scotia, which has some folks in the Amplify office reminiscing about our own school days. Some of us enjoyed those days, some not so much, but it seems we all agree on two things: 1. If high school was the best years of your life, you’re really not trying hard enough as an adult, and 2. We’re all really, really glad we didn’t have social media accounts back when we were in school. To express our deep sympathy for students who do have the decidedly mixed blessing of growing up with social media accounts, we’d like to offer some advice to on how to avoid some common online pitfalls:
1. Check your privacy settings. Facebook privacy settings can be complicated, so it’s a good idea to search for your profile after logging out of your account. If you’re not logged in to Facebook and you can still find your profile, your posts, and your photos, then your privacy settings need immediate attention. Try changing all of your account settings to ‘friends only’. Non-friends will still be able to find you and request access to your profile, but strangers won’t be able to see everything you do and post.
2. Check your mood before posting. Everyone has a bad day now and then, but not everyone is foolish enough to post to social media when they’re angry or upset. Everyone says things they don’t mean when they’re in a foul mood, but it’s best when those things aren’t posted publicly. Deleting regrettable posts rarely makes everyone forget what you’ve said, so it’s a good idea to gauge your mood before saying anything at all.
3. Check your friends contacts. Just because you’ve successfully banished all relatives, teachers, and other authority figures from your roster of social media connections doesn’t mean that your friends have. Before you post an off-colour comment or joke to a friend’s page, check their contact list first. Sure you may have the perfect joke about your friend’s mom, but how funny will it be when she sees it and calls your parents to complain?
4. Check your dramatics. Yes, you’ve had a bad day. We’ve all had bad days. But fortunately, most of us didn’t spend the whole day posting status updates along the lines of “OMG Why duz this always happen 2 me?!” or “Worst Day EVAR!” or the ever popular “ARGHAHDASDLFJKSA!!!!! :( :( :(”. No one positive is ever going to respond to these updates, only people who feed on dramatics will want to know more details. It’s never a good idea to feed the dramaphiles.
5. Check the ‘Keep Me Logged In” button OFF. This little check box can be a lifesaver when you’re accessing your social media accounts on public computers. It can mean the difference between forgetting to log off and having Facebook log off for you after a few minutes, and forgetting to log off and having total strangers read through every personal detail you’ve ever talked about online. Even worse, someone who feels comfortable rummaging through your account will probably feel just fine about posting these details publicly for all your contacts to read. Compromised social media accounts are a nightmare, so remember to take this little precaution.
Checking each of these things won’t guarantee you a smooth social media experience, but it will certainly help to minimize the risks. Here at Amplify we understand the value of social media connections, so we’re not about to suggest that you delete your accounts until after graduation. Keep your connections, and stay as engaged as you like online, but be smart about it. And when social media disaster inevitably strikes someone in your school, remember to be kind. It could just as easily have happened to you, and it just might happen to you next. So be nice, and maybe send them a copy of these suggestions for extra credit.
(Today’s title quote courtesy of C.W. Leadbeater)
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