Adjust Your Settings to ‘Private’
— Steve Jobs, founder and former CEO of Apple, Inc. and Pixar Animation Studios, in a commencement address delivered to Stanford University in 2005
Today, social networking is light-years different, more nuanced and conflicting. You can reach out and touch someone’s hand without ever meeting. You can “connect” with virtually anyone, anywhere.
For instance, did you know that Facebook currently has well more than 500 million users? That means roughly 1 in 13 people on the planet uses Facebook and, on any given day, half of them log in.
Unless users are vigilant about their privacy settings, anyone can see what they post on their “wall,” in addition to what information they have posted about themselves and pictures of them posted not just by their “friends.” Remember those pictures from spring break a few years ago? Yup, they’re probably posted someplace.
And remember — once it’s out on the Web, you will most likely never get it back.
Think about it. What you and others put out there affects your life more than you think. A provocative picture or unfavorable comments could get you out of jury duty or even prevent you from getting a new job.
Text messages could end your relationship with your significant other. How? Social networking and texting are minefields of evidence. If not careful, they are gateways for predators to access your private information and to your life. Worst-case scenarios occur when unmonitored children are targeted by these predators.
Social media can be a wonderful way to get back in touch with old friends from school or to keep distant family informed of what is going on in your life. Sending a quick text can save you from a 20-minute phone call.
However, we must always be aware that these tools also engender a false sense of anonymity. When using social networking, privacy must always be in the forefront of whatever you do and post online.
Always ask yourself, “What would my next boss think?” or “Do I really want to see this on the 6 o’clock news?” Make sure that only those you want to see your information are able to.
If you would not talk to someone on the street, then why would you want to be friends with them online?
- Rodney Gregory and Lisa Dennis are with the Gregory Law Firm in Jacksonville, Florida.