Sharing Personal Information on Social Media
Asking your friend "Where are you? What are you doing now?"- like you used to do -is history now, because you probably know that your friend is sitting in a café at the Pearl, indulging in a piece of cake he has posted a photo of on his page a few minutes ago, with your common friend who was tagged in the next photo.
Social media has invaded every single detail and almost every single moment of our daily lives. And with the diverse applications and platforms, this invasion has gone even deeper and engagement has increased on the platforms, each according to its type, through photographs, short videos, or even written posts and comments.
Therefore, it is important to know how far you should go in sharing your personal material and information and how secure these platforms are and to be aware of the risks that you should avoid in order to be able to introduce yourself properly to your family, friends, acquaintances and followers.
So, what to share on social media?
Beware of the trap!
Social networks encourage users all the times to share everything about their personal lives and nothing is easier than to create a status update, share a photo or broadcast a short video. But unfortunately, we might feel that other people have better lives than ours, and this process is known as social comparison, and it can lead to depression, a low self-esteem and feelings of envy, which, in turn, can reinforce negative feelings in us.
Remember that your life on social media is a not a real one. Although they can be a useful tool, never let these social media platforms control your life, such as feeling like you always need to "prove" yourself, because many online platforms urge you to share more information about yourself, pretending to help you expand your circle of friends or advance your career.
So, before making any post, take the time to decide if this is a really good idea or not and if the kind of information you post fits the type and goal of the platform you’re using.
In addition, use the best ethical practice to select the information you would like to share, then decide if posting them is useful or controversial. You would better always ask yourself: Can anyone use this information against me?
Upgrade your social media sharing skills
Do not engage in bullying or suspicious or controversial online conversations that are contrary to our Qatari social norms and customs. Also, when writing, use clear and concise language, and review your texts before sharing them with others.
In addition, always remember that your credibility is your main asset and it constitutes the impression others make on you. More importantly, it largely influences, in one way or another, your future career and education, and sometimes it can be used as an evaluation of your educational or practical knowledge. Therefore, do not "copy and paste" or share unverified information, and when you share short videos, make sure that they are meaningful and useful ones for your followers and friends.
What precautions should I take to stay safe and protect my online reputation?
Protect your personal information
The more you’re active on social media, the more details you share about yourself. So be careful about what personal data you share or provide on any social media platform. A detail as small as your birthdate can be stolen, and if anyone wants to stalk you in any way, they can recognize you by your profile out of pure curiosity. So, the more information you share, the more you will allow others to use it; someone can find only one "piece" of information that may seem harmless or insignificant to you, but as more information build up, you might be getting yourself in trouble.
Moreover, this might also expose you in some cases to the risk of identity theft. For example, if a hacker manages to access your banking information, he can easily check your personal Facebook account for other information he might need to fake your identity. So, don’t be an easy prey for strangers and do not post anything that would, in some way, put you at risk.
Also be careful of what you publicly share, including with your friends list; you can set privacy settings to control who sees what on your personal page. Also, do not accept friends' requests from people you don’t know or who seem unfamiliar to you. Don’t worry about their feelings, it is better to be safe than sorry!
Employment platforms, such as LinkedIn, are the only exception to the rule. You can provide them with any details they require about your professional skills and previous work experience, without running the risk of disclosing too much personal data.
Be precautious when creating a new personal online account
When creating a new account on any social media platform, provide as little detailed personal information as possible. Don’t forget that information about your hobbies or home address can end up in the wrong hands.
Moreover, be careful when you sign up to applications that require access to your personal information, or even your personal preferences, because they might put you at risk.
Beware of linked accounts loopholes
Are you aware that the information you share on one account can show up in another? For example, the photos you post to Instagram can also be shared to your Facebook page if your both accounts are linked, and your friends might share a post that would become later visible to other. So, to stay safe, make sure to set your privacy settings across your accounts to control, for example, who can see your posts and photos, who can comment, who can send you a friend request and who can reach you on messenger. This also helps you control who can know any information about you.
Finally, it is better to delete any old social media account you no longer use, to ensure that no one accesses any personal information or data there. This can be also an opportunity to delete any old posts or opinions that you might have developed or improved., or even maybe the platform you used to be active on is losing some of its momentum. So, to protect your personal data, it would be better to delete it completely, because a hacker can access your account even if it has been inactive for a long period of time, or even if the platform itself has fallen into disuse.