With social media usage growing at unprecedented rates, it’s imperative that users become aware of the rules and best practices associated with responsible social networking. Using social media carelessly can cause more damage than you think, potentially affecting your academic or professional career.
Here are three tips for ensuring safe and responsible social media usage:
Be mindful of what you’re posting: while social media encourages and hinges on users creating content and sharing their opinions, it is important to be careful with what exactly you choose to post and share on social media. When you share something on social media, it can be viewed by anyone, anywhere (depending on your privacy settings). That not only includes family and friends, but also extends to co-workers, bosses, and even potential future employers. With that in mind, it might be a good idea to refrain from sharing controversial or offensive content.
Never share sensitive information: while it may seem like common sense to never disclose personal information, such as credit card numbers or social insurance numbers, you could potentially put yourself at risk by sharing other information. Depending on the circumstances, it may be wise to avoid using the location-sharing features present on some social media platforms, especially when posting from your home, as you could potentially be sharing a specific location. That information, in unison with the Cancun beach selfie you posted this morning, might make you an easy target for thieves.
Avoid plagiarism and copyright infringement: whether its something simple, such as posting a photo that doesn’t belong to you, or something more nefarious, like uploading that new Drizzy album for all your friends, sharing content that isn’t yours could be dicey. In order to avoid plagiarism accusations and copyright infringement charges, it’s definitely a good practice to avoid sharing content that you do not have permission to post. While this may not always be possible, never pass off content produced by someone else as your own, and always give credit where its due.