Social Media – It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt

I’ve been doing a lot of speaking engagements lately on social media and most have been “pro bono” work to give back to the Milwaukee community.

Social Media Monopoly

The more I speak about social media branding to job seekers and entrepreneurs, the more I am reminded of a phrase from my childhood: “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.”

That’s the way it is with social media.

So many people hop online to connect with people on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, not understanding 1) how to properly use these tools and 2) how open they leave themselves to everyone online. It’s like a new toy that keeps getting better the longer they have it and people begin to throw caution to the wind.

With social media comes great responsibility. (click to tweet)

Whether you are a blogger, entrepreneur or regular Joe, you need to realize two important things about social media:

  1. Once you put something on the Internet, it is there forever. You may decide to delete it tomorrow but the social media networks back up their data and have copies of everything you post. Depending on what you share, it may have already been shared between social media networking websites without you even knowing. Post a picture of you at a frat party in college on your Facebook page and it is most likely going to exist until you die at the ripe old age of 92.
  2. Using privacy settings on social media network websites does not mean your information is truly private. Facebook has even listed in their Terms of Service (TOS) that they do not guarantee your privacy on their website and let’s not even think about those wonderful hackers out there that love to steal personal information.

The sage advice that my grandmother raised me on – “Don’t ever put anything in writing that you don’t want on the front page of the national newspaper.” I’m going to go one step further and say don’t put anything on the Internet that you don’t want all 2 billion Internet users around the world to see.

Social media networking websites are all fun and games – they have a lot of great uses and can build solid relationships. However, keep in mind that what you do on them can come back to bite you if you get careless.



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