Tuesday 10 December 2013

4 Social Media Tips For A Jolly Holiday Season

The holiday season is a time for sharing. That’s great news for social media addicts, because there’s nothing they love more than sharing stories of rambunctious holiday parties and snapshots of their wintertime vacations. But carelessly using social media during the merriest time of year might put your newly acquired presents at risk, or even put you on bad terms with the very same friends and family you celebrated with. If you want to avoid committing a major social media faux pas this holiday season, keep these four simple tips in mind. 

1) Know Who You’re Sharing With

Has your online friends list become a little bloated because you simply can’t say “no” to a friend request? Blindly accepting every request that comes your way might make you feel like a digital social butterfly, but it also allows lots of people you don’t know to see all your updates and cool photos. Including people who have a reputation for engaging in some pretty shady behavior. Cull the crooks and thieves from your friends list by running your online connections through a public records database like CheckMate. Just by searching for a name,  you can see if someone has been arrested in the past, and what they were busted for. If you spot an uncouth character on your friends list, you’ll know to “unfriend” them.

2) Don’t Share Photos Of Other People Without Permission

We live in a hyper-connected age, and not everyone is necessarily cool with having their photo posted on a social media site. If you upload an especially embarrassing photo, there’s even the risk that it will go viral and get posted on major blogs. Don’t hurt your friendship because a goofy picture of your bestie landed on Buzzfeed. Ask permission before you upload pictures of your friends and family.

3) Don’t Share Your Holiday Haul

Did you get a flat screen TV, a next-gen gaming system, and a brand new snowboard? While it might be tempting to show off just how generous your friends and family were this year, posting pictures of your gear and gadgets is a bad idea. While people might be impressed with all your new stuff, so will crooks looking to steal some goods. Some cybercriminals scour Facebook to see who posts the priciest stuff, just so they can discover the best target for burglary. Avoid becoming a victim—don’t brag about your gifts on social media.

4) Make Use Of Security Settings

There’s no reason to show off your holiday revelry to people you didn’t invite. Especially if there was a good reason you didn’t invite them. Fortunately, most major social media platforms allow you to be selective about who sees your posts. On Facebook, just click where it says, “public” right next to the “Post” button. Select “Custom,” then enter the names of the people you want to see your posts. Only the people you select will see your status update, and people who aren’t on this list won’t see anything. It’s a great way to share the fun without making anyone else feel left out.

Jack Idone is a blogger living in Irvine, California. He writes about social media and online security.

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